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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 

GIFT OB 



IVofessor 
Pi-ank V, Wadsworth 



NOVELS, ETC., BY W. CLARK RUSSELL 

Crown Svo., clotli extra, 3s. 6d. each ; post 8vo., illustrated boards, 2s. each; 
cloth limp, 2s. 6d. each. 

ROUND THE GALLEY FIRE. 

IN THE MIDDLE WATCH. 

ON THE FO'K'SLE HEAD. 

A VOYAGE TO THE CAPE. 

A BOOK FOR THE HAMMOCK. 

THE MYSTERY OF THE 'OCEAN STAR.' 

THE ROMANCE OF JENNY HARLOWE. 

AN OCEAN TRAGEDY. 

MY SHIPMATE LOUISE. 

ALONE ON A WIDE WIDE SEA. 

THE GOOD SHIP 'MOHOCK.' 

THE PHANTOM DEATH. 

IS HE THE MAN? 

THE CONVICT SHIP. 

HEART OF OAK. 

THE TALE OF THE TEN. 

THE LAST ENTRY. 



A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS. Crown Svo., cloth, 3s. 6d. 



THE SHIP : HER STORY. With 50 illustrations by H. C. 
Seppings Wright, Small 4to., cloth, gilt top, 6s. 

London: CHATTO & WINDUS, in St. Martin's Lane, W.C. 



A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 



A TALE OF 



TWO TUNNELS 



A ROMANCE OF THE WESTERN WATERS 



BY 



W. CLARK RUSSELL 

AUTHOR OF 
■THE WRECK OF THE GROSVENOR,' ' THE CONVICT SHIP,' ETC. 




A NEW EDITION 



LONDON 
CHATTO & WINDUS 

1899 






CONTENTS 



CHArXEK PAGE 

I. THE devil's walk - - - - I 

H. CAPTAIN JACKMAN - - - - 31 



in. THE DINNER - 

IV. THE PROPOSAL - 

V. BUGSBV'S HOLE 



841653 



63 

93 
124 



VI. FATHER AND DAUGHTER - - - 1 58 



A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 



CHAPTER I. 

THE devil's walk. 

The ship Lovelace lay in the East India 
Docks, being newly arrived from an East 
India voyage. Her commander, Jackman, 
stood in her cabin and gazed in his glass ; 
he looked at his face, and seemed to study 
it. There was a mark as of a blovv^ close 
under the left eye, and he examined this 
mark with care. 

He was a handsome man, with regular 
features and a dark brown skin. His eyes 
were black and flashing, and, contrary to 
the custom of that age, he wore his hair 
close cropped behind. Being satisfied, he 
picked up a bag, locked a drawer, quitted 

I 



2 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

his cabin, withdrew the key, and left the 
ship. 

He made his way on foot and by coach 
to Cannon Street, where the offices of the 
owners of the vessel were situated. Just 
when he was in the middle of the thorough- 
fare he was knocked down and his bag 
taken from him. He lay stunned for some 
moments, and, when he sprang to his feet, 
he caught sight of the darting figure of a 
man flinging the bag into some wide area 
and rushing on. 

Captain Jackman gave chase, but did 
not somehow think of recovering his bag. 
Then, feeling confused and amazingly 
shocked by this theft of fifteen hundred 
pounds in gold and paper — mostly in gold — 
the money of the owners, he gave up, and 
walked sullenly, without even thinking of 
brushing his clothes, towards the offices. 

Such was the story related to the owners 
by Captain Jackman of the ship Lovelace. 
He said he believed his assailant was a 
rascally little seaman whom he had shipped 
at Calcutta, and who had given him trouble 
all the way home. 



THE DEVIL'S WALK 3 

Did Captain Jackman see the man ? 

Yes. Just outline enough of the flying 
figure to guess that it was he. 

How was the money done up .? 

In three small bags. 

Would he have had time to take these 
parcels out of the captain's bag in the 
narrow compass of time allotted him by the 
narrative .? 

Certainly. He had himself seen the sailor 
fling the bag down the area. Sailors are 
swift in breaking bulk. Some are born 
thieves. This sailor was peculiarly active, 
and was the one of the whole crew, knowing 
that Captain Jackman was going to carry a 
large sum of gold ashore, to rob him out of 
hand. 

* How did he know that you were going 
to carry a large sum of gold ashore ?' 

* It may have leaked out through my 
servant, who, being a neat hand, packed the 
money for me.' 

They went to the police. Thev searched 
the area, and found the bag, but they did 
not hnd the gold. What, then, was to be 
done ? Raise a hue and cry ? 



4 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

Captain Jackman was grimly regarded by 
his owners, who had lost in Cannon Street a 
very handsome venture in their voyage. 

* I hope,' said the captain, when he called 
at the office two days after the incident, 
* that this will not make any difference in 
our relations, gentlemen.' 

* You shall hear from us, sir,' answered 
one of the owners, a tall lean man with a 
dangling eyeglass, bending his form crane- 
like towards Jackman. The captain seemed 
to pause, to look confused and pained. He 
then, with a polite bow, raised his cap and 
left the place. 

' I noticed a rather ugly mark near his 
eye,' said one of the partners. ' Ay,' said 
the other, ' and plenty of dust in his 
clothes.' 

One day, some mornings after this, a 
fine young woman was pacing the sands of 
the sea-shore, lost in thought. The sands 
formed a noble stretch of promenade, brown 
and beautiful with ripples moulded by the 
waters of the sea. But from the wash of 
the surf the brine was sparkling and flash- 



THE DEVIL'S WALK 5 

ing : it was blowing half a gale. The tall, 
mid-Channel combers raced inshore, follow- 
ing one another like cliffs looking over cliffs. 
The girl's dress to windward blew to her 
figure, and showed her a beauty in shape ; 
sometimes she paused, and turned to look at 
the sea, which swept into hilly heights of 
froth and obscured the horizon by miles of 
dazzle. Also, she took notice of a little 
barque staggering down Channel under 
close-reefed sail, sometimes vanishing, and 
then showing her whole shape. The sight 
was so toy-like, it made one linger. All the 
wet glories which came out of the sea with 
that little leaning, trying fabric glowed in 
each sparkling sunbeam that touched her. 
She was quaint, too, as an example of a 
vanished type of ship, though she belonged 
to her age. She was very high in the stern 
— a pink — and her bowsprit ran up like a 
mast. Her topsails, when set, would have 
a curiously lofty hoist for a vessel of her 
size. Such as she was, there she was, all of 
the olden time, spinning through the blue 
marrow of the Channel, and making for 
some far western port. 



6 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

All on the left of the young lady rose a 
tov/ering terrace of cliff, white and gray 
blocks, seared, ravaged, scowling, menacing 
the up-looker with the headlong threat of its 
topmost reefs. It went for miles. At some 
distance its curvature frames what is now a 
well-known watering-place. 

The narrative must stop an instant to 
describe the young lady. Who is this girl 
that is walking solitary along the sands 
under a great height of cliff before the mid- 
day dinner-hour ? She shall be introduced 
at once as Ada Conway, the daughter of 
Commander Conway, R.N., a gentleman of 
spirit, who had seen service, who lived in a 
comfortable little house out of eyeshot of 
the wash of ebb-tide. She was a tall girl, 
above the middle stature, of mould in ab- 
solute proportion. She had thick black hair. 
She was Eastern in her colour and eyes, yet 
had as fine a type of English face as you 
could wish to see. She was dressed some- 
what quaintly in a sort of turban hat, with 
a short ornament of feather or bird's wing 
buckled to it by a fal-lal in gold. Her dress 
was of green material, and was cut so short- 



THE DEVIL'S WALK 7 

waisted as to reach nearly under her arms, 
where it was clasped in a girdle. This early- 
century beauty blew along athwart the shrill 
gale and over the ribbed brown sand. And 
sometimes she looked at the leaning barque, 
and sometimes she stopped in earnest to take 
in the whole sumptuous mass of mountainous 
breaker, lifting into Atlantic height, before 
falling with the dead crash of the defeated 
billow. 

Suddenly her ear was caught by a sound 
proceeding from the direction of the cliff. 
It did not come from the base ; it did not 
come from the summit ; but, womanlike, 
she must needs look along both. She was 
passing on, when the same strange, alarming 
cry stopped her, and now she had the good 
sense to scan the front of the cliff, where 
might-be she should see a man hanging by 
his eyelids to the edge of a rock, or some 
helpless boy in a hollow, lowered thence by 
a bowline, and lost to recovery by his 
friends. 

The terrace of cliff was a vast expanse of 
holes and fissures — great crevices of the size 
of gaps ; it buttressed out in parts with 



8 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

natural effect, was solid and green at its base, 
and was a noble example of an English sea- 
board. Miss Conway directed her eyes over 
the face of the cliff very carefully, studiously, 
as of purpose, under her shaded hand, missing 
the hole from which the voice was proceed- 
ing. She then, with a start, beheld a part 
of the figure of a man standing in a hollow 
of the cliff, well known to her, as a young 
lady residing in those parts, as the orifice 
of a smuggler's tunnel called the Devil's 
Walk. 

She saw him wave a handkerchief. She 
pulled out hers and waved it in return, 
running a little way towards the base of the 
cliff, and shrieking — 

' I know where you have got fixed. I 
will release you !' 

The wind carried her high and powerful 
notes. The man in the hole flourished his 
arm with the most cordial, grateful gesticu- 
lation, and the young lady walked swiftly 
towards the little town which lay in an 
embrasure in the great cliff on her right. 

The road was steep, wide, and formed an 
angle. It went like a steeple into the sky. 



THE DEVIL'S WALK 9 

People often paused to admire the gulls 
floating round about and in and out the 
liquid blue of this fanciful aerial spire. 
Nothing of the town was visible till almost 
the summit of the great gap had been 
reached, when there began to steal upon the 
sight a row of little houses built of flint, 
further off a church, then again a pleasant 
little rectory-house. Houses broke the land- 
scape, which had few trees, and was hilly 
only in the distance. It was a sort of town 
that seemed to have settled down to nothing 
and to seem nothing. It gave itself no airs ; 
all was chaste and sober — of a Quaker-like 
trimness of aspect. In a small garden, distant 
by about a mile from the bulk of the town, 
stood a cottage of two stories, square and 
strong for the gales. It was Commander 
Conway's home, and the home of his 
daughter Ada. The girl went swiftly along 
the edge of the cliff, this time towards the 
right. She had come about a mile along 
the sands ; she had now to retrace her steps 
on top. It was not very strange that she 
should know exactly where the man was 
imprisoned. She had lived many years in 



to A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

those parts, and knew most of the traditions 
of the smugglers, and had grown acquainted 
with their haunts, and had visited them, 
through talking with old sailors to whom 
times were always hard. How distant the 
rolling blue sea seemed all that way off ! 
A full-rigged ship was then in sight, looking 
close in ; she rolled in the noblest majesty 
the deep can clothe her toys with. 

But Ada had no eyes for pictures of the 
sea or sky, for processions of clouds, nor ear 
for the gull screeching in its soft white 
plenty midway high, nor for the breaker 
arching like glass to the sand. Not just 
then, anyhow. She struck a path, and 
walked with vigour about a mile, deviating 
into a part of the land, about a third of a 
mile from the brink of the cliff. 

She arrived at a strange old enclosure. It 
might have been some ancient smuggler's 
vault, the memorial gone, nothing but the 
flat tombstone and the square of broken neg- 
lected railings left. She squeezed through 
these broken railings, and approached the 
small flat stone, which was fitted with a ring 
in the middle ; but this she had known for 



THE DEVIL;S walk II 

years. Not a living creature was in sight, 
not even a goat. That vast down of clifF 
swelled its rampart without visible figure of 
man to the distant hills. 

It seemed a desolate scene even now. 
One might figure it with some sense of 
horror in a gale of wind black with snow, 
so dark that if you did not mind, the next 
step might carry you into the scaling hiss 
that was washing, bubbling, fretting, trum- 
peting into breakers just below. 

Miss Conway seized the ring and raised it, 
not without exerting considerable strength. 
She had often raised that stone cover, and 
now, when she had got it off, she knew w^hat 
to do. It was, in short, the entrance to a 
smuggler's passage, designed for the lifting 
of goods from a height. It had been aban- 
doned, not, however, before it had been 
formed, nor before a whole wheel of like 
corridors had radiated out of this main- 
spring under the earth. All were of no 
use, and had been deserted by the smugglers 
as worthless. Few took much trouble to 
wander in those cold caves. They felt 
tolerably certain that bold Bill and Harry 



12 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

Spikem had not left anything worth their 
acceptance in those gloomy depths. Boat- 
men offered to conduct visitors through them 
for sixpence ; but a visitor was an extremely 
rare bird at a town where there were no 
lodgings to be had, and but two small inns 
of those old days for the traveller to put up 
at— inns such as Nelson sat in with Colling- 
wood and his wife in a little room, whilst 
little Miss Collingwood watched the dog 
playing. 

The stone being lifted, Miss Conway 
peered down and called. She peered down 
and shrieked. The echoes of her voice 
seemed to flash like light, so piercing were 
her tones. But under earth the voice is 
very deceptive, as you shall know if you hail 
a man from a depth of soil. 

Why couldn't he have come to the place 
where he entered ? she thought ; and then 
she reflected that he might have strayed in 
one of the corridors, and have got to the 
end of it, and was there standing, thinking 
the entrance was over his head, and wait- 
ing with a beating heart for his release. 
For certain it was there was no release 



THE DEVIL'S WALK 13 

for the man save through the smuggler's 
exit. 

If that was his luck in those branching 
corridors, he would have been well off had 
he fallen and been caught by some projec- 
tion of rock ; for then they could have 
seen him above ; they could have lowered 
tackles and a bowline ; they could more 
clearly have heard his shouts. Now he 
could not approach the seaward-facing hole 
so as even to show himself to those down- 
looking. 

A flight of four rude steps sank into the 
gloom, and the cutting went away in black- 
ness. She had a great deal of pluck in her 
veins ; only a plucky woman, single-handed, 
would have ventured this rescue. It was no 
longer now like opening a trap-door and 
letting a man out ; it was seeking for a 
captive in blinding blackness, save where 
the orifice in the cliff let in at its mouth of 
tunnel, at a distance, a green light like the 
object-glass of a telescope at evening. 

It was clear that some officious hand must 
have closed this trap-door above on observ- 
ing it opened, supposing it so by neglect ; 



[4 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

for the people of the place, though they got 
no money by the thing, rather valued them- 
selves upon it as a small sight, though there 
were scores of greater wonders, east and 
west, particularly west, much of the same 
kind. Ada walked a little distance, until 
she was plunged in darkness ; she then stood 
and shouted — 

' Where are you ?' 

No answer was returned. Some faint 
sheen from the trap-door lay just here, and 
a little further onwards, and you could have 
distinguished the marks of the axe in the 
solid stuff the dare - devils had sheered 
through till they came to the open. The 
labour was wonderful because it had been 
secret, it had been done in passages of black- 
ness in long nights, with look-outs to silence 
the axe and hands striking fiercely, by small 
lantern light, against the portion they had 
opened by a line ruled straight by magnetic 
compass. 

But Miss Conway knew that the smugglers 
had run a number of tunnels, besides this 
long corridor, on either hand of it, extending 
like the antennas of an aquatic insect. If 



THE DEVIL'S WALK 15 

the man had wandered into one of them, 
then, after she had cried aloud in vain to 
and from the central passage, she must 
return for help and lights, and make a 
proper search. 

She walked on, again paused, shrieking in 
her singing, ringing voice — 

' Who are you who have been caught 
down here ?' 

This, however, did not last long. She 
had neared the orifice overlooking the sea — 
close to, it glowed like a lamp in the cliff 
side — when her cry was echoed in a loud 
note, and a man's shape stood between her 
and the light. 

' Oh, there you are !' shouted the girl, 
greatly relieved. ' I was afraid you had got 
lost in one of the off avenues.' 

' You are extremely kind to come to my 
help,' he exclaimed, approaching her. 

She could clearly see the movements of 
his shape against the disc that shone behind 
him. 

' I don't know what I should have done. 
I don't know how long I've been locked up. 
I am very hungry, and could drink a gallon 



1 6 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

of beer. Was not I an idiot to come into 
this place ?' 

' I think you were,' she said. ' Did you 
pull the stone up ?' 

' Yes,' he answered, * and some villain 
seeing me descend must have sneaked to the 
pit and put the stone on, for when I returned, 
making sure of my exit by that lighted hole 
yonder, lo ! there was no light ; all was 
blackness. I was without a stick, without 
means to knock upon it. Good heavens ! 
what was I to do ? There was only one 
way out, and that was over the cliff, about 
eighty feet of fall, as I took it.' 

* What brought you here ?' 

' Curiosity, and,' said he, laughing, ' an 
inborn love of booty. I had read in my 
time a great deal of the old smugglers — of 
their shifts and ways — and knew that this 
and the adjacent coast contained many of 
their caves. I got a plan of this one from a 
man in your town, and entered it with a 
candle, and explored by candlelight ; but 
the candle burnt out long ago. Idiot-like, 
I dreamt of run goods neglected, of hard 
specie in canvas, and tobacco in wood.' 



THE DEVIL'S WALK 17 

' You never find such things,' said the 
girl, ' in our caves — the men vs^ere too 
cunning. They did not v^^ork for you or 
for me.' 

* Pray what time is it ?' 
' About noon.' 

* Lord ! then I have been here since four 
o'clock yesterday afternoon !' 

* It is time we got out,' she exclaimed. 
' Did never a man pass below in so many 
hours ?' 

* Two shrimpers only did I see far out — 
aged, bowed shapes ; and I could not have 
made myself heard.' 

* Now hook your hand into this pleat,' 
said she, taking his hand and fixing his 
finger for him. 

They walked in darkness. It never will 
be known how it happened — whether Miss 
Conway had, in that moment of excitement, 
failed to take a glance at the wall-star at the 
end, and turned with her companion into 
one of the long out-leading corridors, or 
whether she had absolutely forgotten her 
geography of the place in the blackness that 
was upon them, for she had never contem- 

2 



1 8 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

plated passing more than a few steps beyond 
the entrance to the cave. She grew sensible 
of her blunder when they arrived at the ex- 
tremity of the cutting, which had, doubtless, 
other avenues forking out of it. 

* I believe,' she cried, in a low voice, * I 
have mistaken our cell.' 

* In the name of mercy don't call it a 
cell !' he exclaimed, with the very presence 
of a shudder in his speech. ' In the long 
hours that I have been haunting these holes 
like a worm I have seen sights, and I have 
heard sounds, and amongst the sounds I 
heard was the faint, everlasting crying of the 
dead for those they loved, passing through 
the earth.' 

* This is no place for such talk,' she 
exclaimed, baffled by the blindness of the 
cave. 

They returned, still linked, but somewhat 
ironically. It seemed certain now that they 
took a turning to the left, for they missed 
the star, and came against the blank wall of 
the cliff, as they supposed. Strong of heart 
as was the girl, she was beginning to grow 
frightened ; nor was there any consolation 



THE DEVIL'S WALK 19 

to be found in the idea of her having a 
companion and a protector. Who was he ? 
Well, so far as his utterance could pronounce 
him, he was a gentleman, gatherable from 
his speech, of a somewhat heedless cast of 
mind ; but how he looked, how he was 
dressed, how tall he was, whether he was 
black, brown, or white, she knew no more 
than whither the rest of these caves tended. 
She said — 

' How long do you think I have been 
down here ?' 

* I should say half an hour,' he answered. 
' You mean ten minutes,' she cried. 

' Well, time lengthens itself whilst we 
stop in this place,' he exclaimed. ' If we 
have missed the avenue leading to the exit, 
we may go hunting endlessly through 
corridors for it.' 

* No,' she exclaimed passionately. * If I 
can see the daylight in the end, I shall know 
where I am.' 

They walked, and they continued to walk. 
Ada's heart turned cold with horror. She 
had no true conception of the ramifications 
of these remarkable caves, and did not know 

2 — 2 



20 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

but that there might be wells and desperate 
pits many feet deep sunk in some of the 
windings. They all, no doubt, had their 
hatchways or exits, long since buried under 
the sands of time. Evidently it was a great 
company of smugglers who had fashioned 
this Devil's Walk. 

' Where are we going V said the man, 
stopping ; and Ada Conway stopped. 

' I sha'n't know until I see the light in 
the passage where I met you.' 

* The mischief is,' cried the man, * that 
we may be walking yoked round and round 
endlessly, without ever coming to either 
light. Good God, what a horrible issue to 
this adventure ! Nobody ever visits this 
place, I suppose V 

' Only you,' said she ; ' and it's my 
business to save you.' 

' How sorry I am that you should be here 
I can't say, yet it is natural to want to get 
out.' 

' But it seems so mad to come into this 
smuggler's hole with a dream of booty, with 
no further provision than a candle ; and it is 
wonderful that you should not know by that 



THE DEVIL'S WALK 21 

same light that you had been entombed, and 
spent a whole night underground !' 

' Time flies and time loiters under wild 
conditions. I can tell you that, for I'm a 
sailor.' 

* Are you ?' she ejaculated. * What 
rating ?' 

' I lately commanded a merchantman. I 
have lain awake all night sick in hospital, 
and have heard the quarters and halves strike 
with the rapidity of chimes. I could not 
have sworn that three hours have passed. 
I shall look the time, I suspect, when I get 
out. I am beginning to feel a bit weary of 
this blackness, and long for that one round 
of light that offered me a leap as an escape.' 

As he spoke these words they made a step, 
and lo ! on their left, at the extremity of 
the passage, glowed, within fifty feet, the 
cheery star of day. 

' Hurrah !' shouted the man. 

The girl, in a single sob, unheard by her 
companion, expressed her pent-up feelings. 

' Yes, there's the port-hole right enough,' 
said the man. * Now you know the way.' 

* Come along straight,' she said. 



22 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

She led him as before, and touching the 
wall, made a true course for the opening. 
But as she advanced she grew very uneasy 
on observing that no light fell through the 
hatch-hole, and that the short flight of steps 
was not visible in any definition of colour. 
Her companion, stumbling slowly alongside 
of her, presently noticed this. 

' How did you get in ?' said he. 

' By a trap which I left open.' 

' It isn't night again, I hope,' said he, 
with a ghastly laugh. 

' I see no light,' she answered, * and this 
is the corridor of the entrance. Oh, my 
God ! I fear some meddlesome wretch, 
whilst I've been talking to you, instead of 
hastening above, has shut us down.' 

* So that we can't get out ?' 

* Not from within.' 

' Well,' said he, after a pause, and with a 
tone of courage in his voice, ' what we've 
got to do is to go to that light- hole yonder 
and wait for something to pass, and make 
our case known. Somebody is sure to pass.' 

' Let me see if I can feel the steps with 
my foot,' said the girl. * But hold on to me.' 



THE DEVIL'S WALK 23 

He had brought out a large metal tinder- 
box — but empty ; and in his fit of distraction 
let it fall. She shrieked as if she had been 
stung. The nerves of even stout-hearted 
girls soon yield to blackness, to the associa- 
tion of strange invisible men, and to the 
probability of a frightful fate. He laughed 
to encourage her, said what the thing was, 
and groped and picked it up. She took him 
to the steps, felt with her foot, and said, 
' Feel for yourself. The trap-door is im- 
mediately overhead.' 

* Well, if we mean to preserve our lives,' 
said the man — * and God knows how sorry 
I am that you should be here sharing my 
imbecile fate — we must walk to that round 
hole yonder, and keep a smart look-out on 
the sands below. But I'll try first if this 
stone can be lifted by shoving.' 

He left her and got upon the short set of 
steps, and strained with his hands. He could 
not bring his shoulder to bear. In vain. He 
toiled and groaned. He came down, and 
feeling for her, said, * No ; the sight-seers 
have made it easy from above ; but it is not 
easy to thrust up from under, and if I were 



24 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

twenty men I could not do it with my hands 
in that narrow circumference.' 

* Let's walk to that hole,' said the girl, 
hooking him. ' It is our only chance.' 

* Another sight-seer may descend,' said he. 

* Few dream of booty in this age,' she 
answered. * It is pretty well known,' she 
continued, * that all are dry bones here.' 

They gained the orifice. It framed a 
noble picture of Channel ocean afternoon. 
The seas ridged in glittering ranks, smoke 
burst from their curtseying heads, and they 
raced in groans upon the hidden beach 
beneath, whitening out back to half a mile 
of foam. Ships were in sight, blowing 
upwards, blowing downwards, rendered 
somewhat prismatic in the airy lens of that 
smuggler's window. The tide was making 
fast, and they could see nothing but white 
water. 

* Look at that,' cried the man, pointing 
down. 

The shuddering girl drew a foot or two 
closer, and peered below. ' There is no 
escape !' she exclaimed. 

Now they looked at each other. The 



THE DEVIL'S WALK 25 

girl has been described. The man was the 
sailorly -looking fellow you would expect to 
see in him, after his confession of his calling. 
The light shone very well here, and sank 
for a distance of twenty or thirty feet into 
the gloom, then went out in utter sudden- 
ness into black blankness. Miss Conway 
saw standing beside her a man of about 
thirty years of age. He was dressed in the 
style of the day when Peace had newly 
lighted on the land, when the billows of our 
home waters were no longer vexed by the 
keels of contending cruisers, nor by their 
thunder. He was decidedly handsome. 
Hair cut short behind. He had lost his 
hat, and she could see that his hair in front 
was bushy and plentiful, coming over the 
forehead in the * fine ' style of that age. He 
had very striking features, but they looked 
ashen and sunken now. He bowed to the 
young lady when their gaze met, and said, 
raising his hand — 

' You perceive I have lost my hat.' 
* We will not seek it,' she exclaimed. 
He was dressed in a dark green cloth coat, 
a coloured waistcoat and metal buttons. He 



26 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

was covered with dust, had scratched himself 
on the hands and face, and could not have 
looked in a more sorry plight had he been 
newly enlarged after a week's imprisonment 
in the great Pyramid. 

* Do no persons but you ever walk along 
these sands when they are bare ?' said the man. 

* At long intervals,' said she, finding some 
faint reassurance in his presence and in the 
light. * A boatman or a stranger in the 
place might stroll as far as this from the 
town. The tide is ugly, and it makes fast.' 

' At that rate we are entombed, and must 
die in the full sight of life,' cried the man, 
leaning against the wall, and folding his arms 
with a scowl. ' It is bad enough that I 
should be here, cursed idiot that I am ! But 
that I should have drawn you into a living 
grave !' 

* I desire you will act as a man,' she inter- 
rupted passionately. ' We must husband our 
strength and preserve our voices. In to-day 
or in to-morrow ' — but her tones failed her 
as she spoke — * a man may pass within 
reach of our voice, and learning who I am, 
deliver us.' 



THE DEVIL'S WALK 27 

He gazed at her with a sudden admiration. 
She certainly made a noble heroic figure as 
she stood viewing him in that strange tunnel- 
like light, bright on the left, in gloom on the 
right. Her eyes sparkled. She looked 
down the corridor where the steps lay, then 
sat down, placing her back against the wall. 
It was clear that an under-dread possessed 
her, but not so as to master her. The 
thought of being locked down with a strange 
man in a lonely cavern for an afternoon and 
night — and for how much longer, who could 
tell ? — was horrible ; it kept her soul shudder- 
ing, so to speak. But the man's own con- 
sternation was too excessive to take notice of 
anything but this : that he was entombed in 
a smugglers' cave where, as things stood, 
there was every chance of their leaving their 
bones. He squatted in a most disconsolate 
posture opposite to her, and they both had 
the light on them. 

* This,' said the man, meaning the light, 
* is worth something, anyhow.' 

* Continual darkness is frightful,' she 
answered ; * it drives men mad.' 

'Who the deuce could figure that those 



28 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

sands would be covered at flood ?' he cried. 
' What an enormous waste they offer when 
the water is low !' 

* You must have slept, otherwise you 
would surely know that you had already 
spent a night in this place.' 

* When I found I couldn't get out,' he 
answered, ' I took to wandering in the dark- 
ness, and lost the light, and losing that, lost 
this corridor. I turned and plied and groped, 
and then my candle being burnt out, I sat 
down as I now sit, and I have no doubt I 
slept. I awoke, and began to grope my 
way along again, and after a long time my 
hands brought me to some entrance just 
down yonder, clear into the view of this 
orifice.' 

' Was it daylight ?' she asked. 
' Bright.' 

* When you get out,' said she, smiling 
faintly, * you will have had enough of the 
Devil's Walk.' 

* I shall thank God for my escape, madam,' 
cried he, with real fervour, * if it is only for 
your preservation. May I venture to ask the 
name of the good and heroic lady who has 



THE DEVIL'S WALK 29 

come at the risk of her Hfe to release a man 
from a living tomb ?' 

* My name is Ada Conway,' she answered. 
He stood up and made her a low bow. 

* My father is Commander Conway, late 
of the Royal Navy — what he will think — 
what he will fear — the fruitless searches he 
will be making — I am his only child — he 
will suppose I have been overtaken by the 
tide and drowned. Yet they should still be 
looking for me there,' she exclaimed, gazing 
out to sea. 

* No, madam, they wouldn't creep in the 
surf,' said he ; ' they'd watch for the breakers 
to strand you. Permit me to introduce 
myself. I am Captain Jackman, late of the 
ship Lovelace^ which arrived home a week or 
two ago. I left her, and having heard much 
of these parts, thought I would make a cruise 
to your neighbourhood, and a pretty cruise it 
has been.' 

* Are you an American ?' she asked. 

' No. I am supposed to descend from a 
good old English family.' 

' You have had no food since yesterday ?' 

* Not a pinch of biscuit.' 



30 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

* Well, God must help us out. He must 
help us out, for it is too, too awful,' she cried, 
burying her face. 

* If people don't pass to-day, they will 
come along to-morrow,' said Captain Jack- 
man ; * and I have got the voice of a lion.' 
Saying which, he stood up and sent * Ship 
ahoy ! For God's sake, help us,' slinging in 
ringing echoes across the troubled breast of 
the sea. 

■ * Ay !' she exclaimed ; ' but think what 
must pass between now and to-morrow.' 
She looked at her watch. * Do you know 
the time V she inquired. 

' ^j the light in the west, I should say it 
is not far from six,' he answered. 

' It is six,' she said, replacing her watch, 
* and we have the night before us.' 

* It must be borne,' said the man, with a 
note of sulky sympathy, clasping his knees, 
and fixing his eyes upon the sea. 



CHAPTER II. 

CAPTAIN JACKMAN. 

It was about two o'clock in the morning, as 
they came afterwards to know, when Ada 
Conway sprang, with a violent ringing shriek, 
to her feet. She had been sitting close to 
the sphere in the cliff. Opposite to her 
squatted the man, apparently in slumber. 
The disc framed a scene of midnight heavens 
full of palpitating stars, and slowly moving 
snow-white clouds sailing northwards, and 
a corner of moon like a silver spear-head 
nestling in and visibly departing from the top 
arch of the orifice. 

The girl shrieked, and the man also sprang 
to his feet. 

' We are saved !' he shouted. 

He caught her by the hand, and began to 
run. In the direction of the steps there was 



32 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

glowing a considerable glare of torchlight, 
amidst which the forms of several figures 
were clearly distinguishable, and whilst the 
pair ran, a voice, loud as a trumpet, came in 
echoes down through the hollow vault. 

* Is Miss Ada Conway below here?' 
' Yes,' screamed the girl. 

* God Almighty ! Come to your father ! 
What are you doing in these vaults ?' And 
the figure that was speaking started on per- 
ceiving, by the strong torchlight, that the 
girl approached with a male companion. 

The commander was a little square man 
of the * Boarders away !' type, equal, in his 
heyday, when in charge of a boat and crew, 
to a French or Spanish gunboat. He had 
been one of the most gallant officers in the 
service, and had quitted it as commander on 
an income of his own. 

Ada, recognising him by the light, threw 
herself upon his breast in a wild storm of 
weeping. She sobbed ; the commander 
stood silent, surveying the handsome bare- 
headed stranger, who was very visible in the 
flashes the torch-bearers waved about him. 
Then collecting herself with a sudden sense 



CAPTAIN JACKMAN 22 

of rapture at the thought that she was safe, 
and with her father, she Hfted her head, and 
holding her father's arm, exclaimed — 

' Father, this is Captain Jackman. I was 
passing along the sands yesterday morn- 
ing ' 

* So ! Yesterday morning ! How many 
yesterday mornings do you mean ?' groaned 
the commander. 

' When,' continued the girl, * I heard this 
gentleman crying for help out through that 
hole there. I came on to the green and got 
between the rails, and managed to lift the 
stone and descended. We forgot ourselves 
in talk ; we lost ourselves in deviating from 
right to left. When we came to this place 
it was in total blackness ; the stone was on, 
and we were entombed.' 

* Let's get on deck,' said Commander 
Conway. 

They passed up through the trap, five of 
them, lighting the land for a mile around. 
How gloriously sweet and fresh and bound- 
less was the night ! The piece of silver 
moon shone over the sea and shed a little 
light upon the earth. The stars sparkled, 

3 



34 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

and the white clouds floated with a majesty 
that befitted their domain. Ada passed her 
hand through her father's arm on rising out 
of the earth, and exclaimed — 

' Who could have put the hatch down 
upon me, father ? There was no man in 
sight when I went to let Captain Jackman 
out.' 

* He was that fellow Goldsmith/ answered 
the commander. * He is one of the torch- 
bearers. He instantly came to apprise me, 
on recollecting. He said he fell asleep after 
walking from Spenpoor, just past a brow 
of land where you couldn't see him. No 
sooner had you gone down than he must 
have got up, and finding the cover off, put 
it on, according to the custom of these 
rogues.' 

* The wretch,' cried the girl, turning and 
straining her eyes at the three men in their 
rear. * Couldn't you have guessed, you 
savage, by sign of that stone being off,' she 
shouted at Goldsmith, ' that there must be 
people in the caves below ?' 

* I vow to Peter, then,' cried Goldsmith, 
waving his torch furiously so that the figures 



CAPTAIN JACKMAN 35 

of the people came and went in a cannibal 
dance of glow, ' that I thought it was some 
wicked trick of a boy, or that it had been 
forgotten, and so I put it on again. God 
forgive me.' 

* Who are you ?' said Captain Jackman, 
addressing the other torch-bearer. 

* My name is Herman, and I am a poor 
boatman,' answered the man. ' I've got 
nothing to do with this job.' 

' Here,' said the captain, in the brisk tone 
of the sea ; and he slipped a sovereign into 
his hand. * Here, you Goldsmith,' and he 
also slipped a sovereign into the hand of the 
excited torch-bearer. ' See here,' said he, 
* you pinned this lady down, and you might 
have killed us both. You might for six- 
pence, some ten years hence, have gone 
below and started back at beholding two 
skeletons lying athwart the entrance corridor. 
But you did not mean it. You were quick 
in your turn when reflection came to our 
service. So take this.' 

The man was profound in his bows and 
brow-knuckling by the faint light of the 
moon. The conversation had been listened 

3—2 



26 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

to in silence by the commander and his 
daughter. 

* You've lost your 'at, sir. Shall I fetch 
it for yer ?' said Goldsmith. 

* I wouldn't send a wolf into that Devil's 
Walk,' answered Captain Jackman, with a 
dull laugh. 

' We'll find your 'at, sir,' said the two 
men, and they plunged away back towards 
the broken fence and the hole in the 
earth. 

* I wonder,' exclaimed Captain Jackman, 
coming abreast of Commander Conway, * if 
my little hotel will be open at this hour V 
and he gazed down at the short square man 
who trotted between him and his daughter, 
whose head towered above her father's. 

* No need to talk of hotels, sir. Happy 
to put you up, I'm sure, after your desperate 
experiences. My house is close by, and, 
sir,' he said, turning, and extending his hand 
and clasping that of Captain Jackman, * I 
thank you, from the heart of a father, for 
your courtesy during these long hours to my 
daughter.' 

Captain Jackman shook the old gentleman 



CAPTAIN JACKMAN 37 

by the hand and bowed, but made no reply ; 
and they resumed their walk. 

All their talk, till they arrived at the com- 
mander's cottage, was about this singular 
adventure under earth. Captain Jackman 
freely owned this — 

' I wouldn't take a guide, for my hopes 
denied me one ; frankly and truthfully, 
commander, I had been told that some 
smugglers' booty lay in a branch tunnel of 
this hiding-place, and my intention was to 
look at it, and afterwards to take measures 
to secure it by passing it through the 
window.' 

The commander's laugh had the sepul- 
chral note of the Devil's Walk. 

* We were famous smugglers in our time, 
sir,' said he ; * we did not leave our run 
goods, earned at the very risk of our lives, 
to be fetched and enjoyed by strangers to 
the gang.' 

* Who told you of a treasure lurking in 
an English cliff ?' asked Miss Conway. 

' The master of a brigantine,' answered 
the captain, ' who knew your little creek or 
port well, and the whole of the smugglers 



38 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

who had thronged it, before the lawless lot 
discovered their diggings were of no use to 
them, and departed.' 

* That's not so long ago either,' said the 
commander. ' It's not above four years 
since that, from these cliffs, I witnessed one 
of the most desperate actions I ever saw 
between a large smuggler cutter and a 
Government schooner. They made a run- 
ning fight, then came to a stand with 
wrecked canvas and blazing guns. They 
fought with extravagant courage, sir ; then 
the smuggler, with his scuppers running 
crimson, threw his sweeps over, and by 
heaven the schooner remained silent and 
active only in making good the mischief 
done her.' 

* It is abominably hard,' said Ada, * to kill 
men for smuggling. I like the price of 
smuggled tea.' 

* And what tobacco, sir, tastes like the 
run stuff ?' said the captain. 

' Here's my home,' said the commander. 

He pushed open a front garden-gate. 
The house lay in blackness, save that in 
one corner a square of window was dimly 



CAPTAIN JACKMAN 39 

illuminated. No lights were visible beyond 
in the neighbourhood of the town. It was 
three o'clock in the morning, growing into 
four, and the vast dome of midnight fast 
and faster flashed with stars as the morning 
grew. The horizon vanished in blackness 
thrilling with the white of charging seas. 

' Captain Jackman is ready to die of 
hunger, father, and of thirst also,' said Miss 
Conway, as the party of three stepped along 
the walk. 

* He shall be fed,' said the commander. 
' You'll be perished, Ada, I don't doubt.' 

He put a key into his door, opened it, 
and they entered. 

An elderly woman in a dressing-gown, 
her hair curiously curled, her figure im- 
mensely stout, was descending the staircase, 
holding high a candle as they entered. She 
seemed to fall off the stairs, shrieking — 

' I heard your voices. Oh, Miss Ada, 
where have you been hiding yourself?' 

* Thanks, Mrs. Dove, I am safe, and am 
fortunate in having saved the life ot another,' 
said Miss Conway, scarcely enduring the 
old housekeeper's embrace, and motioning 



40 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

towards Captain Jackman, to whom the stout 
old woman bowed. 

Mrs. Dove had been twenty-two years in 
Commander Conway's family ; had nursed 
Ada until she was too old to require a nurse; 
had nursed Mrs. Conway through a long, 
most distressing and fatal illness ; and was 
now, in her somewhat advanced middle age, 
appointed by the commander, in gratitude 
for services rendered, to the honourable post 
of chief mate of his little craft. 

' We want something to eat, Mrs. Dove,' 
said Ada. ' Is the servant up ?' 

' No, miss. I let her lie. I could not 
know you were coming.' 

She pulled a small bell which rang up- 
stairs, and they all went into the little room 
that was lighted by a candle. The com- 
mander lighted four or five more candles, 
and this made light to see by. 

* No,' said Ada. ' Til not go upstairs until 
I go to bed, and then Fll sleep for a week. 
I am not fearfully tunnel-soiled, I hope.' 
And she stood up and turned herself about, 
to the admiration of Captain Jackman. 

It was a comfortable room that sparkled 



CAPTAIN JACKMAN 41 

out to those slender beams of candle. The 
commander had had a little money with his 
wife, and had put good furniture into his 
home. Some maritime pictures of stirring 
excellence hung upon his walls. A great 
silver plate blazed at the back of the side- 
board : the silver had been left out in the 
excitement of that night. Captain Jackman 
looked around him. 

* How far is it from here to the " Faithful 
Heart " ?' said he. 

* You'll measure it easily in half an hour,' 
answered the commander, whilst Mrs. Dove 
went out to prepare a meal for them. ' But 
why not sleep here ? You may find it hard 
to get into your inn.' 

The captain bowed. 

' I fear,' said he, addressing Ada, ' that 
I have sufficiently embarrassed you. Since 
one o'clock yesterday morning in a dark pit, 
with a shadowy stranger, and with a prospect 
of a dreadful death confronting you ! Miss 
Conway,' he said, bowing to her with shining 
eyes, * you are the bravest young lady I have 
ever read or heard of, and you deserve a great 
heroic admiral for a husband.' 



42 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

This was a queer compliment ; she laughed, 
nevertheless, in clear enjoyment of his speech: 
indeed, she got few speeches of any sort from 
good-looking men, from men of any kind. 
This even the commander secretly admitted 
to himself was a peculiarly handsome man 
who had complimented her. 

A maid-servant, owl-like with wonder 
and sleep, stumbled in with a tray of beef 
and bread, and beer, and other matters. 
Mrs. Dove followed. She placed the candles 
and the chairs, and threatened to wait. The 
commander told her to go to bed and take 
the girl with her. He then took the head 
of the table, and carved liberal trenchers for 
the famished pair. 

* This is good beer,' said the captain, 
putting his mug down with a deep sigh. 

' We are dull, but what we have is good. 
Our views are magnificent, and although 
Ada would like to live in London and dwell 
within musket-shot of St. James's Palace, I 
am satisfied, and therefore happy.' He 
added suddenly, * Jackman ! The name 
recurs to me. I think I saw a paragraph 
in a little sheet that makes its way here- 



CAPTAIN JACKMAN 43 

abouts, stating that a Captain Jackman of 
the ship Lovelace had been knocked down 
in London, and robbed of fifteen hundred 
pounds.' 

' I am that man, sir,' said the captain, 
without any emotion in his face. 

* Was the money recovered ?' said the 
commander. 

* Not a dollar.' 

* Have you any suspicions as to the thief?' 
inquired Miss Conway. 

* I believe he is a dirty little forecastle 
hand, who got scent that I was carrying the 
money ashore, and followed me,' answered 
Captain Jackman. ' I saw such a figure 
disappear as it threw my bag down an area.' 

* Fifteen hundred pounds is a considerable 
slice for a merchant vessel to lose in these 
times, sir,' said the commander. 

* And a merchant vessel is a considerable 
slice for a master to lose at all times, sir,' 
answered Captain Jackman. 

' Have they dismissed you V inquired Ada. 

* Yes,' said the captain with a careless 
laugh, ' and so I came down here to enjoy 
myself by getting locked down in a cave. 



44 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

and making for one of the ugliest of deaths. 
How can I thank you — how can I thank 
you, madam ?' he said, languishing towards 
Ada. 

Just then a single knock fell upon the 
hall door, and the commander returned with 
Captain Jackman's round hat. 

* Thanks for all things,' he exclaimed, as 
he took it. 

* I wonder, sir,' remarked the commander, 
* that you should have thought proper to 
venture your life in an underground cutting 
with one candle only.' 

' It was a tall candle,' answered the captain ; 
' and I did not think that I was going below 
to be locked down.' 

' True !' exclaimed old Conway. 

Captain Jackman, in these few moments 
of pause in the talk, seemed to make an 
askant study of the commander, who sat 
opposite. The light was poor for facial 
revelations. He distinguished a rather stern 
expression, brows heavily thatched with 
white hair, a nearly bald head, with the 
white hair cut short about the ears. He 
was disproportionately square, and sat a 



CAPTAIN JACKMAN 45 

massive figure. The captain's scrutiny was 
brief. He turned his eyes upon the young 
lady, whose eyes met his ; then he looked 
at the clock. 

* I am the cause of keeping you out of 
bed,' he said, rising. * Will you permit me 
to retire ?' 

* Show the captain his room, Ada,' said 
the commander. 

The girl lighted a rush-light that was 
upon the hall table, and led the way upstairs, 
and the commander followed, calmly receiv- 
ing the impassioned shake of the hand 
Captain Jackman bestowed upon him. 

That morning at ten o'clock Captain 
Jackman awoke, and found himself in a 
snug little bedroom of white dimity, trem- 
bling with brilliance that streamed upon the 
blinds from the sea. As he got out of bed, 
he heard a woman singing low and clear. 
He raised the blinds, and beheld a prospect 
that assuredly justified C ommander Conway's 
choice of residence. No loftiest mast-head 
yields you a grander scene. It was painted 
here and there with a ship, and was coloured 
blue and white, and the heavens bent blue 



46 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

to the edge of it ; but a number of clouds 
of delicate shape, and charged with a dark 
softness of rain, were rolling up from the 
south-west. 

* This is a home to suit me/ thought the 
captain, and, hearing the girl singing either 
next door or downstairs, he fell a-musing. 

The maidservant, answering his bell, 
brought him the commander's razor and 
some hot water, and in twenty minutes he 
was downstairs. The house door was open, 
and the commander walked up and down 
his lawn, smoking a pipe of Dutch pattern. 
He showed himself by daylight as a man ot 
strong features, heavily bronzed, as by years 
of travel. His eyes were a keen blue, and 
deep set, and his mouth a curl, the under 
lip slightly protruding. 

' Good-morning, sir !' he exclaimed to the 
captain. ' I hope you slept well.' 

The usual civilities were exchanged. 

' Breakfast will be ready when my daughter 
is pleased to appear. She is risen,' said the 
commander. 

* I have been listening to her charming 
voice. Is she your only child, sir ?' 



CAPTAIN JACKMAN 47 

* I lost a promising young son in the 
navy eight years ago,' answered the com- 
mander. 

* I served as midshipman in the navy,' 
exclaimed Captain Jackman. 

* Oh !' said the commander, with sudden 
interest. * What ship and captain, sir ?' 

* The Parkhurst ; Captain Trottman.' 

* I knew them both. A fine frigate, and 
a stout seaman. Why didn't you stick to 
the service ?' 

' Why, the life of the mercantile flag was 
free and easy ; it ofl^ered more money ; it 
provided plenty of voyages and chances. I 
never particularly coveted the glory that was 
to be got in the navy. I should want my 
flag first.' 

* That sort of glory is a slow sunrise with 
us, sir,' said the commander. 

* Then, again, I was to a certain degree 
independent,' continued Captain Jackman, 
talking in a careless, confidential way. ' My 
father had left me an annuity — not, indeed, 
enough to roll on wheels with — that and a 
small, handsome brig under two hundred 
tons, now lying in the East India Dock. I 



48 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

have often been tempted to sell her. Now 
that my kindly owners have given me my 
quietus through no fault of my own, I have 
a very great mind to fit her out ' 

' And go for a cruise on the Account,' 
interrupted the clear voice of a girl. 

And Captain Jackman, turning, clasped 
the extended hand of Miss Conway. 

Her garb was simple and charming. The 
hat she held was a kind of helmet, with a 
wreath and a tuft of feathers. She stood in 
the pride of her fine but simple apparel. 

* Breakfast should be ready,' said the com- 
mander. 

He led the way into the house. Captain 
Jackman and Miss Conway followed, chatting 
with life and spirit over the wonderful inci- 
dent of yesterday. How could such a heart- 
shaking sensation be exhausted ! The 
commander had furnished a savoury break- 
fast of large fried soles and delicate fried 
whiting, and bacon and eggs. They seated 
themselves ; and when the captain had 
concluded his apologies for detaining the 
commander, he turned to Miss Conway, and 
said — 



CAPTAIN JACKMAN 49 

* You have read books which deal with 
pirates ?' 

* Yes. Papa will tell you that I was ever 
a lover of the pirate. I mean the real thing, 
not the Byronic dandy with his bright 
costume and four or five houris and lovely 
homes on coral strands. I love the rough 
brute with a slash across his brow — the man 
who has lost a piece of his nose, who, 
perhaps, has captured a Spanish galleon 
whilst skipper of a vessel of twenty or thirty 
tons.' 

' It has been done,' said the commander. 
* If there's a scoundrel this side the moon, 
it's the pirate. All the woods of Scot- 
land could not furnish gibbets enough for 
him. Give the piccaroon the stem, you 
know. That's the cry through the ser- 
vice, sir. We'd show mercy to anything 
else.' 

* In spite of my father's objections to 
pirates. Captain Jackman,' said Ada Conway, 
leaning back in her chair, and beginning to 
laugh, and showing a fine set of white and 
even teeth, ' if I had your ship, I would 
equip her as a privateer, and sail away as a 

4 



50 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

sea-robber. What splendid luck should 
always attend such enterprises, seeing that 
your quarry is the clumsy, unprepared, 
easily-frightened merchantman ! whilst you 
— a single broadside might settle the matter, 
and win you enough treasure to fill you a 
large cave with.' 

Captain Jackman, laughing lightly and 
gazing with admiration at the young lady, 
tapped applause of her sentiments with his 
knife upon the table. 

* I would advise you to stick to the 
honourable red flag,' said the commander. 

* Freights are always ruling low, as they 
call it,' answered the captain, * and a man 
wants an office and a book-keeper ; and 
there are expenses ashore going on,' said 
he, addressing the commander, but with 
occasional side looks at Ada, ' But, depend 
on't, any scheme I may form shall provide 
for my neck.' 

' I cannot, I will say, consider the revenue 
worth the loss of a drop of blood, were it 
not for the officials of it,' said the com- 
mander, who was making a great breakfast 
off fried sole. 



CAPTAIN JACKMAN 51 

* How are your blockaders coming for- 
ward, sir ?' inquired the captain. 

* They are very sparsely settled at present, 
and they are not coming forward. I doubt 
if there's half-a-dozen preventives betwixt 
this and St. Ives. It must grow into a con- 
siderable force if it is to protect the revenue. 
They keep their few best men about Folke- 
stone and Ramsgate ; and there the fighting 
is mostly going on. Calais is near ; so is 
Dunkirk. The Goodwins are convenient for 
dodging.' 

* What could have made them construct 
such caves as Miss Conway and I were 
locked up in ?' asked the captain. 

* They probably had an idea. In the 
middle of it they found that it would not 
work out, so they dropped it with the 
dexterity of men accustomed to rapidity of 
thought and action.' 

* I believe there are similar caves some 
leagues round the coast — Cornwall way — 
perhaps in Cornwall,' said the captain. 

The girl, looking at him a little expres- 
sively, said, ' You had better take two candles 
with you next time.' 

4—2 



52 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

He smiled and bowed, whilst she was all 
geniality and kindness, in arch humour of 
fair face of gipsy cast. 

* I do not believe, madam,' said he, ' that 
I shall disturb the silence of another smuggler's 
cell.' 

* Booty or no booty ?' 

* Don't mislead the gentleman, Ada,' ex- 
claimed her father. * There is no booty. 
I would not give the value of this button,' 
said he, fingering one of his coat-buttons, 
* for the whole of the booty that you shall 
find deliberately left, never more to be 
fetched by these free-traders.' 

* I had hoped,' said Ada, whose eyes shone 
over her mounted colour, * that you were 
going to submit a romantic project ; I am 
very romantic myself I could die for a 
lovely young man.' 

The commander grinned. 

' If he was worth dying for. Must he be 
lovely ?' said Captain Jackman, pushing his 
chair from the table and nursing his knee, 
and regarding her with obstinate pleasure, for 
he not only found her a handsome woman ; 
she had saved his life at the risk of her own. 



CAPTAIN JACKMAN 53 

' I had thought,' continued the girl, 
* from the interest you take in these caves, 
and by your accent, which is sHghtly 
American ' 

* Ho !' cried the captain, * that's news 
to me.' 

* That you were going to fit out your 
brig with some romantic reference to these 
holes in the rocks. Strange ideas enter one's 
head.' 

' They do indeed, madam.' 

They rose fi-om the table. The captain, 
turning to the commander, said, putting all 
the graceful bows and courtesy of that age 
into his demeanour — 

* Will you, commander, and Miss Conway, 
give me the pleasure, the real pleasure — 
of your company at dinner at the " Faithful 
Heart " ? Say six o'clock.' 

The commander seemed to pause. The 
girl's eyes burnt upon him. He began a 
little awkwardly — 

' x^s strangers, sir, we really have no 
claim.' 

* Do not speak of me as a stranger, I beg,' 
said the captain. 



54 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

The commander looked at his daughter, 
saw a quarrel in her fine eyes, sulkiness 
running into days, much discomfort to an 
elderly widower living with an only child, 
and so he whipped out — 

* Be it so, captain. We will be with you 
at six o'clock.' 

Shortly after this. Captain Jackman left 
the pretty little house, having stood a few 
minutes by Miss Conway's side, greatly 
admiring the spacious view from the lawn. 
The commander walked to the side of his 
daughter, who remained on the lawn, watch- 
ing the departing figure of Captain Jackman. 

' What do you think of him, father ?' 
said she, laying her hand upon his square 
shoulder. 

* Think ! He is no introduction of yours 
that we should think,' cried the little seaman. 

* You know him through me, and cannot 
but have thoughts about him, good or bad,' 
she exclaimed, with an irritable toss of her 
head, dropping her hand. 

' Well, betwixt you and me,' said the 
commander, turning to take a view of his 
house, ' I don't like him.' 



CAPTAIN JACKMAN 55 

' Oh, I knew it would be so !' she ex- 
claimed. * He is much too handsome. 
Had I appeared in the company of an old 
man of sixty, with a brown wig down his 
back, and a yellow nose down his face, 
you would have found him a welcome pre- 
sence.' 

The commander did not readily lose his 
temper. * I do not like this man because 
I do not like his manner of losing fifteen 
hundred pounds — the property of others. 
It is strange. It is peculiar. It is memor- 
able. And I recollected it, as you may have 
observed, when we were seated.' 

' Was it good taste V said the girl, slightly 
sneering. 

' Oh, we don't live in these parts to 
cultivate what you call taste ! We speak 
the truth — or should.' 

* What do you want to imply, father ?' 
The commander looked at the ocean and 

grinned. 

* You mean to say,' continued the girl, 
' that Captain Jackman knocked himself 
down and robbed his owners of fifteen 
hundred pounds .f" 



56 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

* They do not charge him with it ; why- 
should I, whatever I may think ?' And 
humming a popular song of that day, the 
commander turned on his heel and went into 
his house. 

His daughter remained on the lawn — 
looking at the sea, do you think ? No ; 
but at the fast disappearing figure of Captain 
Jackman, whom, on her own confession, she 
thought a handsome man. A handsome 
man was of more interest and rarity than a 
sea view, which she had gazed at hundreds 
of times o'er and o'er. The race of the sea 
flashed in vain ; its heavy guns of breakers 
thundered at deaf ears ; that fine frigate 
abreast, with canvas white as driven snow 
so leaning as to expose a portion of her 
bright copper, the long wake bubbling and 
rushing, swept through the deep before 
blind eyes. No beauty of cloud, of liquid, 
or land recess could arrest her ; she saw but 
a figure, and when it vanished, she re-entered 
the house with a very thoughtful face. 

Captain Jackman walked straight into the 
little town. A little town it was, with one 
good, and two or three middling streets. It 



CAPTAIN JACKMAN 57 

had a row of houses called the Lawn, and 
most of the important people of the town 
lived there. Captain Jackman went straight 
to the * Faithful Heart,' and entered the 
darkling bar that had a brightness of re- 
flected oak, and of highly polished pewter, 
and said to the woman who sat sewing 
behind — 

' You see I have returned, Mrs. Davis !' 

* God bless me ! Yes,' cried the little 
woman, starting from her chair, dropping 
her work, and staring at him. *We all gave 
you up for drowned.' 

' I was in direr plight — I was entombed.' 
Asking for a glass of brandy, he told her 
the story, whilst the landlord came in from 
the backyard to listen. He then went 
upstairs to his bedroom. He looked at 
himself in the glass, and seemed satisfied. 
The scars of the night of darkness had worn 
off, the tunnel stains had vanished. He 
took a considerable sum of money in gold 
out of his portmanteau or valise, and went 
downstairs. He called to Mrs. Davis. 

* A word with you in your front parlour, 
madam.' 



58 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

She rose, curtseyed, and conducted him 
to a front room of a fair size. 

' This will do,' said Captain Jackman. 
* Here's quite room enough. I want to 
give a dinner to two friends at six o'clock 
to-night. Can you manage it for me ?' 

* You shall have the best that is to be had, 
sir ; and I may truly say that my cooking is 
known far and wide.' 

* The guests are Commander Conway and 
his daughter. Do you know them V 

* By sight and name, sir. They are a 

little ' And here, not choosing to abase 

herself, she curtseyed. 

Why should worthy Mrs. Davis have told 
the handsome gentleman that Miss Conway 
would no more have regarded her than the 
mould she trod on ? 

* I will make out a list of dishes now,* 
said the captain. 

Mrs. Davis fetched a pencil and slate, 
and Captain Jackman, in the time that the 
well-known poet, Smithson, takes to turn 
out a sonnet, safe in the applause of fifty 
other Smithsons, had made out a really 
handsome dinner for those days of plain 



CAPTAIN JACKMAN 59 

dishes. He then left ihe inn, and walked 
slowly up the High Street, looking into the 
shops on either hand, until he came to a 
jeweller's shop, at which he made a stand. 
After inspecting the furnished window, 
he entered, and said to a bald-headed man 
behind the counter — 

* This is a little place for a big order.* 

* I hope not, sir. There may be larger 
shops, but there are not a better class of 
goods.' 

* I want the very best,' said Captain 
Jackman, looking darkly at the bald head. 
* Show me the best bracelets in your posses- 
sion.' 

' At what price ?' stammered the old fool. 

* I said the best,' thundered Captain Jack- 
man, * and I want one without delay.' 

The man with the bald head produced 
a number of bracelets. They were not 
very good. He knew it, and did not make 
much of them. The captain pish'd and 
tossed them, and was going, when the bald- 
headed man cried out suddenly, as to an 
inspiration — 

' I beg your pardon, sir. Six months 



6o A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

ago, a family in this neighbourhood failed, 
and amongst the stuff sold was their 
jewellery. Some of it came into my hands. 
I can let you have the most magnificent 
bracelet you ever saw, providing that you 
don't care that it is second-hand, and I will 
give you a guarantee that I will return the 
money should the lady find out that it was 
ever worn.' 

' Right,' said the captain. 

The man disappeared, and the captain 
stood in the shop door looking at the town ; 
then returned on the jeweller re-entering. 
The man, with a proud eye, placed on the 
counter a very beautiful bracelet, of old 
pattern, sparkling with diamonds and precious 
stones, massive, and wrought into some device 
of serpent. 

' London shall not beat this, sir,' said the 
shopkeeper. 

' This suits me,' answered Captain Jack- 
man. * How much ?' 

The shopkeeper had clearly just made up 
his mind. 

* It is a second-hand article, sir. I'll not 
charge you more than forty-five guineas.' 



CAPTAIN JACKMAN 6i 

The captain carefully examined the thing. 
He admired it hugely ; it was probably a 
hundred years old, and was, perhaps, cheap 
at a hundred guineas. It was a beautiful 
gift for a beautiful woman, and the captain, 
putting it down, pulled out a handful of 
gold. The bald-headed jeweller stared at 
the sight of so much money. He was to 
stare at another handful before forty-five 
guineas could be told. 

' Pack it,' said Captain Jackman, in the 
abrupt commanding manner of the sea ; 
' and give me a pen and ink and paper, 
that I may send a letter with it.' 

The jeweller cleared a little table for him, 
and set a chair at it, and the captain began 
to write. It was a fine, dashing hand, a 
gentleman's hand. 

' I have respectfully to entreat Miss 

Conway's acceptance of the accompanying 

trifling memorial of an incident which must 

have turned out a terrible tragedy to me, 

but for her noble bravery. So poor a jewel 

cannot possibly express the sensations which 

accompany it. 

'Walter Jackman.' 



62 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

By the time this letter was written, the 
jeweller had packed the bracelet. 

* Address it,' said the captain, and he 
gave the address. This done, he exclaimed, 
* Have you got a messenger you can 
trust V 

* I have my son, sir.' 

The son was working upstairs. In a few 
minutes he was on his way to the home 
of the Conways, with the beautiful gift and 
letter in his pocket, whilst Captain Jack- 
man, bestowing a farewell nod on the 
jeweller, stepped forth to take a view of 
the town, and to see what the little harbour 
was like. 



CHAPTER III. 

THE DINNER. 

Captain Jackman walked down the steep 
street watched by the jeweller and a hair- 
dresser who had stepped from opposite when 
the captain marched off. 

* A few of him would open these cliffs 
and let in more houses and people. God 
bless me ! I never thought to sell it, and 
yet he's got a bargain.' 

* What's the article ?' inquired the hair- 
dresser. 

' A bracelet. It's cost him forty-five 
guineas. I believe he'd have given a 
hundred for it.' 

* What is he, do you think ?' 

* A sailor, I should say.' 
'Did he pay cash V 

' Bright cash.' And the jeweller, half- 
closing one eye, pulled out a handful of 



64 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

glittering sovereigns, at which the hair- 
dresser gazed with admiration. 

* Perhaps he's the gent that got himself 
lost in the Devil's Walk/ said the hair- 
dresser. 

The jeweller smote his thigh and cried, 
' That's it ! And the bracelet's gone to 
Miss Conway.' 

Captain Jackman disappeared from their 
gaze. He turned the corner of the long 
gap, which was scarcely made a street of 
by the row of houses on top, and found 
on the right a short wooden wharf about 
whose piles the seas were toiling. A 
number of fine fishing-boats lay off this 
wharf, and rode the rolling comber with 
perfect grace to their anchors. Westward, 
beyond this wharf, was a sort of natural 
harbour; but it was evident that the place 
was only used by the men for convenience, 
and that they landed their catches in other 
harbours. 

' Well, what's doing here ?' said Captain 
Jackman to a tall, powerfully built seaman 
in the rough dress, heavy boots, belt, and 
hanging cap of those times. 



THE DINNER 65 

* There we are,' said the man, pointing to 
the smacks rolling broadside on to the wharf. 

' But do you fish in this part ?' said the 
captain. 

The strong man, with a face put together 
in pieces like masses of putty, answered — 

* We fish where we think there is any- 
thing to be caught.' 

' What's the smuggler doing down here 
now ?' 

* Oh, they're all gone away to the east- 
'ard !' answered the man, with a note of 
indifference. 

* But they thought well of this place 
once upon a time. Men must live to learn 
that they're fools. Who would sail a 
hundred and fifty miles to run a cargo when 
he may set it ashore on this coast with only 
the danger of a third of the distance ? 
Were you ever at sea as a sailor V said the 
captain. 

The man smiled, and showed his immense 
yellow teeth, and, pulling off his cap, combed 
down his grisly hair. 

* I've served at sea on blue water thirty 
years. I've come to this because I can earn 

5 



66 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

more money by it. I've served in men-o'- 
war and merchantmen, and was second mate 
of the West Indiaman St'rius.' 

' What's your name ?' said the captain. 

' Bill Hoey,' answered the man. 

' Where do you live ?' 

The man gave his address, which Captain 
Jackman entered, along with the name, in a 
pocket-book. 

' Have you got any family V said the 
captain. 

' An old mother turned of ninety. I 
buried my sunshine twenty year ago.' 

* How would you like to take a voy age 
with me in a fine brig ?' 

' On what errand ?' 

' Simply a voyage of discovery. We 
would discourse that matter on board, when 
all hands were assembled.' 

' How would you rate me ?' 

' Can you take the altitude of the sun ?' 

* Yes, sir.' 

* You shall be my chief mate. I like 
your looks.' 

The man grinned and said, * How about 
the money, sir ?' 



THE DINNER 67 

* I am my own owner. There will be no 
difficulty about wages. Here's my name 
and address.' 

He scribbled them on a fly-leaf of his 
note-book, tore the leaf out, and the man, 
after reading it, put it into his breast. 

* If you know of other likely lads who 
have a fancy for a brisk and merry voyage 
from London town to the Land of Romance, 
and who are willing to count their pay in 
sovereigns instead of shillings, I shall feel 
obliged to you,' said the captain. 

Bill Hoey touched his cap. He was 
beginning to regard this gentleman with 
admiration. 

The captain stood bending his brows in 
a searching glance along the ten or dozen 
men who were hanging about the wooden 
wharf, leaning against the timber heads 
smoking and talking in growling notes ; 
then with a sharp * Good day,' he whipped 
round and walked up the gap. 

When he arrived on top of the cliffs, he 
turned to his left and walked a couple of 
miles along the edge, pausing where a curve 
gave him a view of the coast. He sought 

5—2 



68 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

also with keen eyes inland. It was clear 
from his looks, after he had turned on his 
heel and struck for the town, that this place, 
or its vicinity, was not to his taste. He 
pulled out his pipe and lighted it ; but the 
brave wind, gushing in a blue fountain over 
the edge of the cliff, made but a short smoke 
of it for him. 

He amused himself in various ways that 
day, chiefly in asking questions about the 
practices of the smugglers when they used 
these parts. He gained a great deal of in- 
formation from the bald-headed jeweller, 
whom he saw leaning in his shop-door. 
He asked him if the bracelet had been 
delivered, and they fell into conversation, 
watched by the hairdresser opposite, who 
wished his father had bred him a jeweller. 

This jeweller had much to tell of midnight 
affairs down on the wharf, and landings 
contrived on the beach amidst a crackling of 
blunderbuss and pistol. The revenue people, 
he said, had always been, as they still were, 
as determined and heroic as their foemen. 

' But,' said Captain Jackman, * I am told 
that you have no revenue people left here.' 



THE DINNER 69 

The jeweller answered — 

* There is one, I believe, paces the cliff 

side 'twixt ' And he named two little 

places on the coast. 

* That's to the east'ard,' said the captain. 

' Yes, sir. For some unnameable reason, 
considering they had taken so much trouble 
in the Devil's Walk, the whole body of the 
men sailed east.' 

* So that further west, and further west 
still,' said Captain Jackman, * you'll scarcely 
find a look-out.' 

* I doubt if you'd find one.' 

* Why don't they run their goods west, 
then ?' said the captain. * No look-out is 
what they want, isn't it ?' 

* They'd be watched and followed, sir. It 
is a difficult calling, full of blood and murder. 
It don't seem worth while, for my part. 
Some comes off with profits worth naming ; 
but the gains on the whole are poor, and 
the gibbet's rope is dangling over their heads 
all the time they're earning their desperate 
living.' 

' So it is,' said the captain, and he strolled 
across to his little inn. 



70 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

At six o'clock the table was prepared, and 
Captain Jackman was awaiting the arrival 
of his guests, who appeared on foot as the 
church clock struck the hour. Miss Conway 
was rosy red ; her first words were — 

' Captain Jackman, I have not words to 
thank you. This is indeed a glorious 
gift.' And throwing aside her mantle, she 
showed that she wore the jewel on her left 
arm. 

* I know not what the value of my life 
expresses, madam,' said Captain Jackman, 
smiling as he perceived the bracelet. * But 
if I had fifty lives to save, each one, to put 
it prosaically, worth a thousand, that trinket 
could not seem more shabby as an illustration 
of its worth than it now is.' 

' I did not think that our little town 
could have turned out so splendid a piece 
of jewellery,' said the commander, looking 
around him, particularly at the old prints 
of sea-fights. * It is the handsomest thing 
of the sort I ever saw, and my daughter 
should be obliged to ye.' 

* She is, I assure you,' she exclaimed. 
* On such charming conditions who would 



THE DINNER 71 

object to release strangers from smugglers' 
tunnels ?' 

The landlady conducted Miss Conway 
upstairs, and she came down in a few 
minutes, delightful in colour, stature, de- 
meanour, and dress. She wore her hair so 
that it fell thick and low on one side ; the 
other side was balanced by a handsome comb. 
A quantity of frills sat upon her neck and 
shoulders, leaving exposed a portion of her 
white bosom, which was further sweetened 
by the late beauty of an autumn flower. 

They took their seats. A man waited. 
It was to be a good dinner, the commander 
saw. 

' I've been taking a look about your 
neighbourhood,' said Captain Jackman. 
* Very pretty, and the sea view spacious, 
but rather tame, I fear.' 

' Yes,' clipped in Miss Conway. ' Those 
who praise this place when the summer is 
glowing with roses forget the seven months 
of winter, the roaring chimneys, the eternal 
crash of sea, so cold that your marrow 
hardens to it ! You can't leave your house 
for the snow, nobody can come to see you. 



72 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

and this is the life my father dedicates his 
only daughter to !' 

But she did not speak in temper. No 
swell of bosom or sparkle of eye accom- 
panied her words. It seemed indeed as if 
she merely coquetted with the point, and 
Captain Jackman noticed it. 

* The fact is,' said the commander, fasten- 
ing his eye on Captain Jackman, ' I am too 
poor to live anywhere else.' 

* I hate poverty,' exclaimed the captain, 
with a scowl ; 'it is the most detestable of 
human misfortunes. What is meant by 
being poor ? To possess all the desire 
without the capacity of enjoyment. Fortu- 
nately there is no poverty at sea ; money is 
not wanted. There is nothing to buy.' 

' You shall not call yourself a poor man 
here. Captain Jackman,' said Miss Conway, 
flashing an arch look at him. 

* How is a man to make his fortune in 
this age,' continued the captain, * now that 
the wars are ended, and there is nothing to 
be done in buccaneering and the loose trades ? 
What use, for example, can I put my brig 
to?' 



THE DINNER 73 

* You see,' said the commander, ' being a 
naval man I have very httle knowledge of 
the merchant side of the ocean life.' 

* I shall sell her, she is of no use to me,' 
said the captain, looking at Miss Conway. 

* Is she fit to go to sea ?' asked the 
girl. 

* She wants about three hundred pounds 
spent upon her, and where am I to get it ?' 

The young lady looked down with a face 
of remorse at the beautiful bracelet upon 
her wrist. It was a speech in bad taste, yet 
it did not lessen the beauty of his face nor 
the agreeable mystery he seemed to carry 
with him. 

' I doubt if you will stop here long,' said 
the commander. * Any sea-faring business 
brought you here, may I venture to ask ?' 

* None. Nothing but a wish to see if the 
smugglers had left some booty behind them ; 
and to lounge about this part of the land 
until my finances advised me to arrive at a 
decision.' 

' You should always be able to get com- 
mand of a ship. Captain Jackman,' said the 
girl. 



74 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

' Not so easy now I have been dismissed 
for theft.' 

' Oh no !' muttered the commander, ' dis- 
missed for a misadventure. Had it been 
theft, sir, you would not have been here, nor 
should we be enjoying the splendid dinner 
you are giving us.' 

He tippled down another glass of cham- 
pagne. Very good champagne it was ; his 
eyes beamed with it and the port, and the 
hardness had dissolved from his looks, and 
his face expressed the smiling side of him. 

* They'll all understand what my discharge 
means,' said the captain. * I had served the 
owners with heroic honesty, having brought 
off their lumbering merchantman from a 
very heavy ugly pirate, right amidships of 
the Atlantic. We made a running fight of 
it, and I brought the rogue's foretopgallant 
mast down. The villain rounded to, and 
my good friends' bales and tea were saved.' 

* They choose to forget that,' said Miss 
Conway warmly. 

* A shipowner,' said the captain, in a soft 
voice, addressing himself to the girl, * is by 
birth a scoundrel, who will not forgive you 



THE DINNER 75 

one error — one oversight ' — his forefinger 
flew up in seeming passion — * be your record 
the most dutiful, honourable, and lucrative 
of them all.' 

' I can believe it,' said the commander, 
with a loud laugh ; * and yet you are for 
choosing the red flag instead of my own 
glorious colour.' 

* How long were you at sea last voyage ?' 
asked Miss Conway, whilst the captain 
gloomily gazed at the commander. 

' Twenty-four months.' 

' And you have had command in other 
ships ?' she said. 

' In several,' he answered. 

' You are a young man,' she exclaimed, 
whilst her eyes lingered upon his face with 
evident delight, * to have been in command 
so long.' 

* Shall I tell you a secret, madam ?' said 
he, smiling. * In fact, shall I tell you my 
age ? Then learn it by this, that I was 
twenty when I first took charge of a ship.' 

* Very young and very creditable. It 
works you out at about thirty,' said the 
commander. 



76 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

The captain bowed as if to a sentence of 
kindness. 

He dined them as sumptuously as the 
shops of that place could provide : and after 
dinner they went upstairs to a spinet, where 
Miss Conway gave them some music. She 
played very prettily, and sang also. But 
her singing was not of the fine quality you 
would have expected in a girl who possessed 
a voice. Captain Jackman's eyes were 
riveted to her all the while she sat at the 
spinet ; and he declined to give heed when 
the sturdy old commander slung a question 
across the room to him in the midst of his 
daughter's performance. A strange old 
room in a vanished inn ! You can dine 
on the site, but not in the house. It was 
probably then a hundred years old, was low 
pitched, wainscot bright with time, ceiling 
covered with carvings of flying Cupids and 
fruits, and the furniture was in keeping, 
dull, dim, and dusty. 

Thus they amused themselves till about 
half-past eight, during which time the com- 
mander and Captain Jackman drank some 
hot whisky-and-water. They then lighted 



THE DINNER 77 

their pipes and sallied forth, the commander 
pausing in the bar to sing out in a deep bass 
voices— 

* A very good dinner, Mrs. Davis. I 
would never wish to sit down to a better.' 

The good woman, who had really done 
her best, dropped curtseys in the fine old 
English style, coming round out of the bar 
that she might continue to curtsey, until the 
lady and gentlemen were in the street. 

Commander Conway was by no means 
anxious that Captain Jackman should see 
them home ; he felt sure he must be tired ; 
he had been on his legs all day ; it was a 
long walk, and then there was the walk 
back. The captain said he would accom- 
pany them part of the way only, and strode 
on the young lady's left, where the beautiful 
bracelet was. They talked together, and the 
commander did not seem to greatly heed; in 
truth the coming out into this strong fresh 
air had a little staggered his senses. 

' Ours, Captain Jackman, has been a 
strange meeting,' said the girl. * I shall 
never cease praising my judgment for taking 
a walk on the sands that morning.' 



78 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

*■ I owe my life to you,' said he, in a low, 
somewhat impassioned voice, * and mean to 
keep it for you. Let you marry whom you 
will, I marry no one but you.' 

At this extraordinary speech she walked 
a little fast, so as to carry her ahead ; but 
she fell back easily into her place, whilst her 
father on the other side of the captain was 
singing, * The Bowline's Hauled.' 

' I would rather not talk of anything of 
this sort at present,' said the girl, after a 
prolonged pause. * You are not, I hope, 
returning very soon ?' 

* Not too soon,' he answered. 

' What's that light out there V shouted 
the commander, pointing to the dark and 
troubled slope of sea. 

' A flare of distress,' answered the captain. 

They stood looking, talking about the 
light, which presently disappeared, and 
when they walked on all three chatted. 
The conversation was general until Captain 
Jackman bade farewell to them about half 
a mile distant from the commander's house. 

' I don't like him. I can't make up my 
mind to like him,' said the commander, as 



THE DINNER 79 

he trudged with a roll forward towards the 
square shadow where his own square shadow 
lived. . * He is liberal with his gifts, and 
gives a good dinner.' 

* And for that he is to be abused !' 
exclaimed the girl. * Considering he is 
a sailor, he is the most perfect gentleman 
T ever met ; much more so than the rough 
and cursing creatures you meet with in the 
navy. He has a beautiful face, and his 
attention to me that night in the tunnel 
never shall I forget while my heart beats. 
You don't seem either to much value the 
life of your child in your abuse of the man.' 

The commander trudged on more rapidly. 
He was sleepy, and besides, Miss Conway, 
imperious, sarcastic, overbearing, always con- 
quered the square little fellow, whatever 
might prove the discussion. 

Now for the next two days nothing was 
seen of Captain Jackman. Miss Conway 
was mortified and astonished. Could it be 
possible that the giver of the magnificent 
bracelet, the partner in their tragic experience 
under earth, the man who had cleverly run 
acquaintance into friendship in a single day 



8o A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

through a hospitable and sparkHng occasion ; 
could this man, after what he had said to 
her last night, have slunk away on the coach 
for a fresh destination, contenting himself 
with having made a fool of another girl and 
paid a fair price for his valuable life ? 

She walked down the one street, and in 
and out of it. She walked on to the wharf. 
She strolled where she thought she would 
meet him. 

If it is false that a girl cannot fall in love 
at sight with a handsome man, then this tale 
is a lie, for assuredly Miss Conway could 
not have been more in love with Captain 
Jackman had they been betrothed a year. 
On the third day, however, she was standing 
at her bedroom window, which gave a clear 
view of the reach to the crazy rail of the 
smugglers' hole, when she saw a figure 
wrapped in a cloak pass the house within 
gunshot. He did not seem to notice the 
house, but walked straight on, making 
apparently for the Devil's Walk. Her 
heart beat a little fast. She knew him. 
Should she go out and meet him, and 
challenge his reason for not calling and 



THE DINNER 8i 

proving himself as friendly as he was on the 
first day ? 

She was a young woman with a character 
as hard as the rock she dwelt on, and she 
was perfectly fearless in the execution of her 
ideas. She had been pining for this man. 
He was out yonder walking. She wanted 
him ; so she put on her hat, left the house, 
and followed him. 

As she stepped into the road Mrs. Porter 
came along. Mrs. Porter was a tall, stately, 
stout lady, the widow of an admiral. She 
was the very last person that Ada could 
have wished to see just then. 

* Ah, my dear Miss Conway,' she cried, 
* I have been on the look-out for you, and 
meant to have called this very afternoon. 
What can you tell me about your wonderful 
night in the Devil's Walk ? And what 
has become of the beautiful young man 
you were locked up with ? Oh, fie !' 

She shook her head with a succession of 
odd smirks, and continued — 

* They're all saying, if he is a gentleman 
and can support you, you must marry him.' 

* If you knew how I detest the opinions 

6 



82 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

of people you would not force them upon 
me,' said Ada Conway, looking very darkly 
at stout Mrs. Porter, and then casting a 
glance of blazing impatience in the direction 
of the cloaked figure that seemed to be 
making for the smugglers' trap. 

' But wasn't it shocking ?' continued Mrs. 
Porter, * without a light, alone with a man 
whom you had not seen !' 

' But you know the story,' said Ada, with 
a trifle of arch sarcasm in her tone ; ' why 
do you want it over again, good Mrs. 
Porter ?' 

* We love to drink from the original 
spring, that was the admiral's favourite 
saying. Never trust a story or a report, 
he would say ; go and talk to the man who 
figured in it.' 

*Well, I shall be seeing you this after- 
noon perhaps, Mrs. Porter; meanwhile I'm 
off for a walk, far beyond your ambling 
paces; so farewell.' 

She blew the old lady a kiss in the most 
gracious style of that age, then swept aw ay 
without another word. 

The commander, standing in his window, 



THE DINNER 83 

caught sight of her, and rushed round out 
of doors slap into the arms of Mrs. Porter. 

* Why, commander,' began the lady, * this 
is an unexpected pleasure indeed.' 

' Hi! Ada, where are you going?' shouted 
the old seaman, in his roughest voice. 

Ada half turned her face and made an 
ironic flourish of farewell, but spoke no 
word. 

' She's after that man,' said the com- 
mander, with a black look in the direction 
of the becloaked figure. * She's fallen head 
over heels in love with him, and he must 
either be forced out of the place or ' 

* What, Captain Conway — do say what V 
cried Mrs. Porter. 

* Or battened down in the Devil's Walk 
to cry again from help for another pretty 
woman.' 

* Give that out, and the sands will not 
want paraders,' said humorous Mrs. Porter. 

They stood conversing. The commander 
was detained by the lady who would have 
hindered Ada. So even Mrs. Porters have 
their uses. Meanwhile the girl, whose 
heart her father knew, rough old seaman 

6—2 



84 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

as he was, was stepping out briskly, literally 
in chase of the man she was determined to 
have a meeting with. She was only slightly 
vexed that her father had seen him pass ; 
she would rather her father had been asleep 
in an armchair, or shaving himself in his 
bedroom, which did not overlook Captain 
Jackman. Jackman took the ground with 
an actor's tread ; her pursuit carried the 
sound of her footsteps to his ears ; he 
turned, looked, started with pleasure and 
astonishment, and ran forward to meet the 
young lady. 

* I am surprised,' she cried, with her face 
red as fire, * that you should think it friendly 
to stay away from our house for two days, 
never to inquire how I was after that bar- 
barous night underground, and now to give 
the go-by to our home.' 

He held her hand whilst she spoke, and 
answered, * I was away yesterday, madam ; 
but in any case I should not have called. I 
saw dislike in your father's face.' 

' My father dislikes everything that is not 
aged and rotten. He buys old books, and 
if they're printed in characters he can't read. 



THE DINNER 85 

so much the better. He believes in the 
ships of a hundred years ago, and laughs 
with a sneer at the line-of-battle ships of 
to-day. He has lived for years a stagnant 
life ; it is a pond on which all sorts of ugly 
weeds grow and blow. Do not concern 
yourself with his dislike. Where are you 
going ?' 

* I was going merely for a stroll as far as 
the entrance to the Devil's Walk. Frankly, 
in expectation of meeting you,' he answered, 
with his eyes filled with active love fastened 
upon hers. 

The colour sank out of her face when she 
noticed that look. She was loved, and the 
truth went to her heart. 

' We will walk as far as the smugglers' 
hole and then return,' said she, taking 
possession of him with an easy spirit that 
made him adore her grace, and wonder 
where she had learnt her engaging airs. 

* Where did you go yesterday ?' 

* To a little village ten miles down the 
coast,' he answered. ' Did you notice the 
other night as we walked home the light 
of a flare upon the sea ?' 



86 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

* Yes.' 

* Well, it proved, as I suspected, a distress 
signal. It was burnt on a roughly con- 
structed raft which managed, by dint of 
boards and other contrivances, to strand itself 
in safety. They were eight men. I heard 
the tale in your town. They were smugglers 
who had lost their vessel by a butt-end 
starting. They trudged to the little village 
and were put up there, and are still there.' 

* Are you a smuggler ?' she exclaimed, 
looking with vivid keenness into his face. 

* I am Captain Jackman,' he answered, 
bowing and laughing. ' No smuggler, but 
no scorner of the trade. I went yesterday 
to see those men, and think that I have 
secured the services of five of the stoutest 
of them.' 

' What ! for smuggling. Captain Jack- 
man ?' 

' No, for a sweeter, swifter, and richer 
pursuit, madam, which I would whisper in 
your ear with feverish delight, sure of your 
sympathy and approval, if this hand ' — he 
took it — * were mine.' 

She began to tremble. She was being 



THE DINNER 87 

made love to in reality. She was a little 
frightened. Greatly she enjoyed the situa- 
tion she had placed herself in, and said, with 
her head hanging down — 

* My father must know what we do.' 

* You want me to consult with him about 
our marriage ?' 

* Oh, not so fast, Captain Jackman,' she 
exclaimed, colouring with delight at his 
impetuosity. 

' He will never give his consent,' he said. 
* He doesn't like merchantmen. He hates 
poor men, and so I do. He'll talk of our 
three or four days of acquaintanceship, and 
heap every objection he can find and create.' 

' And then,' said the girl, speaking firmly, 
with her face of beauty improved with an 
expression of decision almost feverish in its 
impulse, * there is a second road.' She 
looked at him boldly. 

* Why not take that second road at once ?' 
he exclaimed softly, passing his arm through 
hers ; and the love-sick girl let it lie there, 
and cherished it. 

' No, Captain Jackman * 

* Walter.' 



88 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

' Walter, then, we will be truthful and 
above-board; you shall go and ask my 
father's consent and answer his questions. 
He may not refuse. That would be so 
much better. For him now, and for memory 
for us in after years.' 

* I would do whatever you wish. I have 
no queen but you,' answered Captain Jack- 
man, who certainly was as much in love 
with the girl as she with him. 

' How long are you stopping in this 
place V she asked. 

* I am at your service,' he replied. 

* Well,' said she, speaking rapidly, * we 
must be seen together for some days. You 
must call upon the commander and talk of 
anything but me. Then come when I am 
in the house by pre-arrangement, and the 
matter can be dealt with. Meanwhile I 
should like to know your reason for picking 
up sailors.' 

* I have a scheme in my head,' he 
answered. 

* So I suppose,' she replied ; * and I 
engage that it concerns your brig.' 

' You are a witch, miss,' he exclaimed, 



THE DINNER 89 

smiling at her. * Of course, the knowing 
that I am here seeking sailors did not put 
that into your head.' 

* I knew nothing about that until just 
now,' she answered ; * but fancies rose in my 
head when you talked of the brig whilst we 
were together.' 

They approached, and stood at the broken 
rail that fenced the stone. 

* I hope you are not going below !' cried 
Miss Conway, flashing her eyes with com- 
mand upon him. * If you do, I protest I 
will bolt you down and leave another to 
release you. How many candles have you 

got r 

' I am not going to enter those caverns, 
believe me,' he answered. * At the same 
time, I am wondering whether I could find 
an abandoned cave along this cliff with an 
outlet to the sea. There should be plenty. 
T do not want to go east ; I mean to give the 
Downs, with the shipping and the men-of- 
war, a wide berth. Have you ever heard of 
such a cave ?' 

* Never. It may be found,' she answered. 
* So you are going to turn smuggler ? I 



90 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

could not marry a man whose body might 
be hanging in air within a month of the 
wedding.' 

' I vow I am not going to turn smuggler. 
I purpose something infinitely more noble 
and more shining. I am a decayed gentle- 
man, and a decayed gentleman must live. 
They won't find me a berth ashore, so I 
must go to sea, where I intend, in my brig, 
in a week or ten days, or say three weeks, to 
make a fortune.' 

' Father can never object to that scheme,' 
exclaimed the girl ; ' he admires commercial 
adventures, and would greatly respect you 
for loading your ship and sailing in search of 
fortune.' 

They continued to converse as they walked 
in the direction of the commander's house. 
Captain Jackman was mysterious, but his 
looks were eloquent. Ada's eyes dredged 
the captain's face for a hint, but got no idea. 
Suddenly he paused, and said — 

* Here we must part.' 

* In view of my father's house ! Certainly 
not. You will step in, Walter, and dine 
with us.' 



THE DINNER 91 

He seemed to shrink, with smiles full of 
courtesy. 

* Oh,' said she, lightly catching hold of 
his cloak and bearing him towards the 
cottage, * you are refusing a lady. I know 
you have no other engagement. Pray step 
in, and dine with us.' 

Almost unconsciously the stouthearted, 
manly, handsome Captain Jackman found 
himself in the commander's garden, walking 
towards the commander's house ; and now 
there was the commander himself approach- 
ing them from his back garden, wearing 
carpet slippers and holding a broom, with 
which he had been attending to his fowls. 

' Oh, good morning. Captain Jackman,' 
he shouted, as if he were hailing the mast- 
head of a ship. * Those Devil's Walks of 
ours seem to have exercised a pleasant 
fascination over your mind.' 

' What do you think, father ? Captain 
Jackman was actually passing this house not 
long ago without intending to call.' 

* Captain Jackman's ideas of reserve may 
be different from yours,' said the commander. 

' Yes,' she cried quickly ; ' and after 



92 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

luncheon I am going to show him about the 
place.' 

' The place ' was to be viewed, every 
street and alley, in an hour, and Captain 
Jackman had now been some three or four 
days in these parts exploring. The com- 
mander stared at the cool turn his daughter 
gave to things, and muttering, ' Oh yes, sir ; 
you'll stop to lunch, I hope, you'll stop to 
lunch,' he shuffled out on his slippered feet 
to put away his broom. 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE PROPOSAL. 

One afternoon, a week after Captain Jack- 
man had lunched at Battle Lodge, as the 
commander had tremendously named his 
trifling villa, Miss Conway was pacing her 
bedroom with impatient feet, slanting an eye, 
eloquent of purpose that had waxed almost 
into temper, over the old-fashioned, puckered 
blinds which concealed the interior of the 
room from the roadway leading to the town. 

At this same hour, the commander, who 
was red in the face from having sat beside 
the fire, was musing over a letter in his 
hand. 

* What can he want ?' he thought, as he 
strutted from the table to the window to and 
fro. * Does he hope to borrow money ? I 
have not a farthing to lend him, and should 



94 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

at once insist upon returning his bracelet. 
Is he seeking some situation here ? There 
is nothing vacant down at the wharf, or 
upon the coast, anyway, that I have heard 
of, though I should be glad to oblige a man 
who acted as he did towards my daughter in 
a delicate and difficult situation. I would 
oblige him, certainly, I have thanked him 
merely. He, on the other hand, has given 
us a noble bracelet and a magnificent dinner.' 

The letter sank in his hand. The bigoted 
old fool stared hard into the fire. These 
wonderful old people, who believe in nothing 
but the dead thing in the ships they've sailed 
in, in the pap-bottle they sucked at, do not 
seem able to see round the corner, where the 
live thing absolute, and no nonsense about it, 
is always coming. 

The hall bell clanked, and presently the 
servant admitted Captain Jackman. There 
were the usual salutations. 

' So you are still amusing yourself in these 
parts,' said the commander. * Pray be seated, 
captain.' 

' It answers my purpose to linger,' answered 
Captain Jackman coolly. 



THE PROPOSAL 95 

A.nd the commander had to own that the 
fellow looked uncommonly handsome, with 
a gentleman-like character about his beauty, 
which was promise of a good record. 

' I thought,' said the commander, with a 
harsh, uneasy laugh, * that you were here 
only to inspect the Devil's Walk.' 

* Surely, sir, my reasons for remaining here 
need be known to myself only, I hope.' 

* Quite so,' said the commander largely. 

* But I intend,' continued Captain Jack- 
man, ' to make you a sharer in the business 
of my detention, by telling you that the 
letter you hold is to ask you for the hand of 
your daughter Ada.' 

* No, sir, never !' shouted the commander. 

* Softly, commander. You do not seem 
to consider that we are truly in love, that 
she is over age, and ' 

' And what, sir .?' bawled Commander 
Conway. 

The captain smiled. 

* Keep seated,' said the commander. 

He seated himself by the fire, and now 
the talk flowed. 

* This is my only daughter, do you see,' 



96 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

said the silver-headed old man. * I hope 
you do not mean to take her from me.' 

* Every girl needs a father at the start, and 
a husband afterwards,' said Captain Jackman. 
' This girl is too beautiful and noble in spirit 
to be allov^^ed to languish on top of a cliff 
within sight of a single scene of the sea. 
Young women like pleasures — music, the 
dance, the theatre, the opera — they do not 
care for nothing but windmills and fishing- 
boats ' He was proceeding. 

* Hold, sir !' shouted the commander. 
* What portion of all this glory could you 
display to my daughter ?' 

* I will take her off a cliff to start with, 
commander, and anchor her close to the 
sights which are worth seeing.' 

'What are your means.? Can you 
support my daughter without obliging me to 
put my hand in my pocket ?' 

* I shall not call upon you for a bad 
sixpence,' answered Captain Jackman, with 
a lofty toss of his head. 

The commander stared hard at him, and 
breathed short, then burst forth — 

' But how do I know who you are .? You 



THE PROPOSAL 97 

get locked up in a cave with my daughter, 
fall in love with her inside of a fortnight, 
and propose for her hand. I am thunder- 
struck. Marriage is a slow and solemn 
thing — a contract that is not to be thundered 
through as though a hurricane of need blew 
astern of it. You have told us your parents 
are dead, and I have no doubt, sir, from the 
sample they have left in their offspring, that 
they were in the highest degree respectable ; 
but they were strangers. I never contem- 
plated a marriage of this sort. You may 
have relations my daughter may find 
extremely degrading to her.' 

* You should not talk thus without know- 
ing,' said Captain Jackman, starting on his 
chair, and looking very fiery and disdainful. 
' It is not customary, I think, to sweep the 
circle of the relations of a lady whose hand 
we propose for, otherwise ' He coughed. 

' What does that cough signify, sir ?' 

* Mr. Fortt !' 

The commander coloured, and looked 
viciously at the captain, but made no reply ; 
in fact, he had no reply to make ; for 
Captain Jackman, in probing and prowling 

7 



98 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

about and asking questions, had got to hear 
that Fortt, who was a retired dairyman and 
a good-looking man with strong whiskers, 
had married Conway's sister, and was Uving 
with her in a handsome villa. The com- 
mander was not, by this marriage, to be 
driven from his guns. He stuck to his 
home, but he never approached the Fortts' 
house, nor had a word or a look for his 
sister and her man if he met them. On the 
other hand, Miss Conway regularly visited 
her uncle and aunt, and occasionally made 
excursions with them to a considerable 
distance, such as Canterbury and London. 

At this instant she entered. She leapt in 
a graceful bound from the bottom step of the 
short flight into the room, giving her body 
as many swings, though always of a stately 
sort, as you would expect to see in some 
lively princess on her entrance. 

' Why, Captain Jackman !' she cried with 
well-assumed amazement at his presence, as 
if she had not watched him coming, as if 
she had not seen him turn the corner to 
ring the hall bell, as if she had not heard, at 
the head of the short staircase, the loud 



THE PROPOSAL 99 

conversation that had followed on his 
admission. * This, our sailors here would 
say, is a sight for sore eyes. We are bears 
in a cage to you ; and you do not love 
bears.' 

* I have come, madam,' said Captain Jack- 
man, ' to speak to the commander on a 
subject which must needs be of deep interest 
to us both.' 

* What is it ?' she cried, beginning to 
heave her breast, and looking at her father. 

* Captain Jackman's called to ask for your 
hand in marriage,' said the commander. 

' Well ?' said the girl. 

' I cannot give my consent.' 

* Why not .? Captain Jackman is a man of 
as good degree as you. He is a gentleman 
to the very heels of him, don't you know. 
I love him ; and you ?}mst consent !' 

' There is a mystery,' said Commander 
Conway, clasping his gouty hands upon his 
portly waistcoat, ' that troubles me, and 
excites dislike. What was he doing in 
the Devil's Walk ?' 

' Curiosity, sir. I have answered that. 
Curiosity took me there.' 

7—2 



lOO A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

' It is not satisfactory to me that the 
captain should have been dismissed his ship 
for having been innocently robbed of fifteen 
hundred pounds.' 

* I would advise you to say no more in 
respect of that/ said the captain, stepping so 
as to confront Commander Conway. ' I am 
a man to force you to apologise for your 
infamous insinuation by carrying you to 
London, and compelling you to face the 
owners themselves.' 

* I wish you to say nothing more about 
it,' exclaimed the commander, with an angry 
motion of his arm, the fist of which looked 
to be locked. * What I want you both to 
understand is, I cannot approve of, and 
therefore cannot sanction, the marriage of 
my daughter to a stranger who had no 
existence to us a few days ago ; who has 
not explained how he is to support his wife 
when he marries her — whether he intends 
to go to sea and carry his wife with him, or 
leave her ashore. If ashore, what sort of 
home can his means affbrd her ? For, sir,' 
he said, looking up at the captain, who still 
stood in front of him, * we know that a 



THE PROPOSAL loi 

master in the merchant service is not paid 
wages which a wise sailor would dream ol 
getting married on. And at present you 
have no ship, no employ, no more prob- 
abilities of work than other people walking 
about the docks — all excepting a brig, 
upon which heirloom I make you my 
compliments.' And he bowed with a 
sarcastic air. 

' There is not the slightest use,' Captain 
Jackman replied, ' in answering your ques- 
tions, unless you intend to give us your 
sanction.' 

Ada, fast breathing, eyes glittering, 
nostrils swelling, stepped round and stood 
beside her man — a handsome pair. 

* You may depend upon it,' continued the 
captain, * that if I marry this lady, I shall 
not trouble you ; on the contrary, I think it 
more likely that you will trouble me.' 

' What do you mean, sir ?' shouted the 
commander. 

' I have a golden scheme, and it will 
come off,' said Captain Jackman, with a 
singular smile lighting up his face. 

The commander was silent for at least a 



I02 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

minute. A minute is a long time of silence 
on an occasion of this sort. During the 
pause he eyed Jackman with a gaze of 
corkscrews and screwdrivers. 

* I see how it is, father,' said Miss 
Conway, in a voice of bitter contempt, and 
with a manner daringly defiant. ' You 
mean to keep me at home all my life — or 
your life, which may be long, for you take 
good care of yourself You mean that I 
should become a wrinkled old maid, without 
hopes of a husband, without a chance of 
getting away from this sickeningly dull hole, 
merely because it suits you, and it is con- 
venient to you to keep me at home as a 
companion. You do not love to be alone. 
I would bear you company willingly,' she 
cried, with enlarged nostril, ' to your grave, 
though it should make me sixty years of 
age, if it were not for your selfishness.' 

* Sir,' said the commander, ' you perceive 
what sort of a young lady you wish to clasp 
to your heart as a life partner.' 

* Have I your consent to our marriage,' 
answered the tall, handsome Jackman, look- 
ing down at Commander Conway with a 



THE PROPOSAL 103 

barely visible curve of contempt at either 
corner of his mouth. 

* He would deny me a sight of life,' 
shrieked the girl almost hysterically. ' I 
am to gaze, by his command, on nothing 
but the ocean. We go nowhere. I take 
lonely walks. You saw me on one of those 
lonely walks. Captain Jackman, and I am 
thankful to remember that I saved your life. 
My father is selfish, and does not enter into 
the feelings of the young. He has lived, 
and we too must live and see life. This 
gentleman loves me,' she said, laying her 
hand with fine grace upon the captain's 
shoulder, and looking at her father with an 
expression of desperation in her beauty, * and 
I love him, and we shall be married.' 

The commander, not perhaps relishing 
the being seated whilst these two continued 
to tower over him, sprang up and stepped 
across to the other side of the table. 

* You'll not marry with my consent,' he 
exclaimed, * until I learn more of this 
gentleman's antecedents, connections, career. 
I don't want certificates of conduct,' he 
added with an arch sneer. * I want to 



I04 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

know is this man who has made a bid for 
my family a gentleman ? Next let me be 
satisfied as to the ways and means of this 
business. He is flinging his money gener- 
ously about down here ; he should have 
plenty. Will you not tell me how much 
you have ?' 

* I have told you that I'm a poor man ; 
but that I have an occupation, and meanwhile 
a brilliant scheme.' 

* Submit it,' shouted the commander. 
Captain Jackman shook his head slowly. 

* And you think I'm going to sanction 
your marrying my daughter — to such a man 
as you ? What is your mystery ? You 
shall hire the Devil's Walk, and spend a 
little money on decorating it, and support 
my daughter on the sixpences you take.' 
The commander laughed harshly. ' There 
is no room in this house, I beg to assure 
you, for two families ; and that being so, 
and as you decline to give me any satisfaction 
as to your antecedents, and your capability 
of supporting a wife, I absolutely decline to 
sanction your marriage.' 

Saying which he gave Captain Jackman a 



THE PROPOSAL 105 

stiff bow, left the room, and marched very 
creakily upstairs. The lovers looked at each 
other in silence, and then the captain kissed 
the girl's forehead. Tears v^ere in her 
eyes. 

* There is the other way,' said he, in a 
soft voice. ' Unnatural thoughts should be 
opposed by unnatural deeds. I am a gentle- 
man — as much so as he. He knows it. He 
is prejudiced. He does not like my being 
fallen in with in that cave. He does not 
like the idea of having a master in the 
merchant service for a son-in-law. Ada,' 
he whispered, ' he will never consent, but 
there is the other way.' He made a move- 
ment so as to leave the house. 

* You have said nothing about our future 
arrangements,' she cried. 

' Everything now depends upon you,' he 
answered, very softly. ' There is the other 
way, my dearest,' he again whispered with 
great significance, and a look that beamed 
with love. 

* Stay, I will put on my hat and walk into 
the town with you. We can arrange at our 
hearts' will as we go.' 



io6 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

Commander Conway stood at his window 
overlooking the road, and witnessed this 
couple's departure. He was deeply incensed. 
But, like all fathers thus placed with an 
active, determined daughter who would 
marry a bagman sooner than remain un- 
wedded, all that he could do was to gesticu- 
late, and all that he could say was, no^ with 
the emphasis of the rolling sea, and then sit 
down upon that * no ' and await the conse- 
quences of his heart-breaking command. 

He saw old Mr. Leaddropper, a retired 
pilot of the Trinity House, a man with very 
arched legs, and a full August moon of face, 
and long shoes with buckles. This man 
pulled off his round hat to Miss Conway as 
they passed, and called out — 

* Is father at home, missie ?' 

' Ay, you'll find him at home,' answered 
the girl. 

Old Leaddropper made several turns with 
his head after he had got the couple astern, 
in order to view Captain Jackman. He had 
heard of this gentleman from his great friend 
Captain Burgoyne, an old East Indiaman, 
but had not seen him. Meanwhile Com- 



THE PROPOSAL 107 

mander Conway at his bedroom window saw 
Leaddropper coming, and watched with 
mingled emotions the frequent looks the 
bow-legged pilot cast behind him. 

* How do you do, Conway ?' said Lead- 
dropper, entering the house, as the com- 
mander descended the stairs. * Fine gal that 
of yours !' 

He walked into the dining-room. The 
commander followed him. 

* Oh, that I was the man I looked, and 
felt, when the last century was eighty !' He 
seated himself. 

' You were not just hatched even at that,' 
said the commander, walking up and down 
the little room. * What's the news ?' 

' For my part I've got not a stroke,' said 
the old pilot, blandly following with motions 
of his blood-stained eyes the movements of 
the commander, as he placed a decanter of 
rum upon the table, together with a jug of 
water and tumblers taken from the sideboard. 

' Help yourself,' said the commander. 

The pilot did so. The commander took 
a drop, lighted his pipe, and the pilot drank 
his health. 



io8 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

* Not a stroke of news,' continued old 
Leaddropper. ' But stay ! Blamed if there 
isn't a talk of some one going about working 
up a crew out of our little town.' 

* That'll be Jackman,' said the com- 
mander. * Certain. What can he want a 
crew for, and why is he found in the Devil's 
Walk ?' 

' Was that the man that I saw your 
daughter walking with just now ?' inquired 
the pilot. 

The commander let fall a surly nod. 

* If so, he's a precious good-looking young 
man, with that sort of eye which tells of a 
right heart, so I think. His behaviour to 
your daughter in them vaults that night was 
that of a gentleman.' 

' Have you come up at anybody's urgent 
request to do a bit of special pleading with 
me, Leaddropper ?' exclaimed the com- 
mander, looking a little darkly upon his 
friend. 

* What do you mean .?' 

' I suppose you know,' said the com- 
mander, ' that that gentleman, who styles 
himself Captain Jackman, wants to obtain 



THE PROPOSAL 109 

my sanction to his marriage to my 
daughter ?' 

* How should I know ?' said the pilot, 
draining his glass, and looking at the 
decanter. ' But if it be as you say, where's 
the harm ? What's the objection ? If your 
gal were mine I should reckon her lucky to 
get into tow with one of the handsomest 
gentlemen I ever clapped my eyes on.' 

* Blast the handsomest gentleman ! How 
can a man support a wife on his looks ? 
This handsome gentleman has nothing 
saving apparently some loose gold ' — and 
here he spoke with a curious intonation — 
' which he is glad to sling about him in this 
quiet spot, at the rate of forty-five pounds a 
go. Stay !' he added, confused by his own 
meanness. * He has a brig, but without 
capital, without a crew, without evidently 
any disposition to make use of the brig. 
How shall she count in his list of effects ?' 

* Young people must have a chance,' said 
the pilot. * Parents are always for opposing 
as they were opposed ; but the fakes come 
out of the coil all the same, and there's no 
singing out of " avast !" to the sculler whose 



no A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

boat has got the end of the rope. How's 
your gal, your very fine gal, going to get 
married down here ? Who's to admire her ? 
Who's to see her ? Naturally, when one 
comes along who has eyes, he desires her, 
Conway ; and so should I, my friend, if I 
could slide my life back thirty year.' 

* What have you heard about this collect- 
ing of men for a crew ?' asked the com- 
mander. ' Is there some reference to his 
brig in this job ? But why should he come 
down all these leagues from London for 
men ? What's being said about my daughter ?' 

' Nothing that's reached my ears. Nothing 
that could annoy ye, anyway,' said the old 
pilot. ' I did hear that they were likely to 
be engaged because of their being locked up 
all night under the earth alone. Some 
fathers would feel a little sensitive on this 
matter. You don't seem to have taken it to 
heart, commander ;' and the pilot flourished 
his glass at his mouth, and put it down with 
a gesture eloquent of * no more.' 

* Am I to be told,' cried the commander, 
whisking round upon the pilot, and taking 
aim at him with the stem of his pipe, ' that 



THE PROPOSAL iii 

every one who saves the life of another must 
marry 'em ? Why, the penalty might be 
regarded as so violent there'd be no life- 
saving at all. A young man on the sea-shore 
would say, " I see a girl drowning ; never do 
to save her ; most indelicate for her to be 
seen lying in my arms in her bathing-gown !" 
Nothing but marriage could rescue the lady 
from the very compromising situation the 
gentleman, by saving her life, had placed 
her in.' 

Leaddropper sniggered. 

Whilst these two old sailors were con- 
versing in the little square cottage on the 
top of the tall cliffs. Captain Jackman and 
Ada Conway were slowly making their way 
towards the town. The flash of the sea far 
down, the guns of the sea low down, the 
white lightning of the gulls' flight went with 
them ; and with them rode a pleasant pano- 
rama of shipping ; a line-of-battle ship was 
making her way up Channel ; she hung 
sullen, and tossed with massive plunge, 
heaving about her the foam of a dozen 
breaking seas ; a smart little schooner, with 
masts like fishing-rods, sitting low and almost 



112 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

level, save where her bow struck for domina- 
tion in an abrupt leap of sheer, was cutting 
through her own yeast ; others were glorious 
with the light and the life, and all that the 
ocean has of beauty to confer upon the 
fabrics which sail upon it and trust it ; but 
none of these things did the lovers take 
heed of. 

Probably Jackman had had enough of the 
sea and its pictures, and nothing short of a 
whirlpool or a lightning-clothed disaster, full 
of foam and rolling peals, was likely to court 
Miss Conway's eye to that wide blue flashing 
breast. 

* Ada,' said Jackman, ' your father will 
not give his consent. That's as certain 
to me as that it is I that am talking to 
you.' 

' Why will not he give me my way ?' she 
cried. * It's hard to have to take it — to leave 
an old father. Yet he binds me to him by 
nothing ; we see little or nothing of each 
other. I am a convenience as mistress of 
his house. But I am not mistress, and 
every day makes me feel the want of inde- 
pendence.' 



THE PROPOSAL 113 

* Will you trust yourself with me in the 
little parlour of the " Faithful Heart " ?' 
said the captain, after a short pause. * I 
have a project I want to talk to you 
about.' 

' After the Devil's Walk !' she cried, with 
spirit. * After that, Walter, I think I should 
be able to trust you anywhere.' 

* Come to the little inn !' 

They walked down the broad, steep street, 
speaking little. Those who knew Miss 
Conway bowed with arch looks. Not often 
was a marriage celebrated in that steep little 
town. A good-looking young man straying 
into the place was viewed rather with 
astonishment than with desire. And if 
ever the desire came it was promptly ended 
by the good-looking young man's disappear- 
ance. 

Here now was undoubtedly a good-look- 
ing couple, unquestionably engaged to be 
married ; and friends bowed archly, and 
others stared. They arrived at the * Faith- 
ful Heart' and entered. Captain Jackman 
conducted the young lady upstairs to the 
little parlour in which she had played the 

8 



114 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

spinet that night the three had dined to- 
gether. The captain was advancing to grasp 
the bell-rope. 

' What do you want ?' said Ada. 

' Some refreshments for you.* 

* Nothing, absolutely. Leave that bell 
alone, be as swift as possible, come and sit 
here on this sofa beside me, and tell me your 
secret — the secret, I presume, on which we 
are to get married — that is to say, on which 
we are to run away, as I too certainly feel 
it must come to.' 

She spoke in hard words, but in a love- 
sweetened voice, and extended her hand to 
bring him to her. He kissed her brow 
as though she was a saint and he adored 
her. 

' To start with, Ada, I am going to tell 
you what I never intended to hint at until 
we were man and wife, when our lives and 
interests should be identical. But your 
father's stubbornness must determine us, we 
must elope. Now, before we do that, it is 
my duty to reveal myself in full. I have 
called myself a gentleman, Ada ; to you I 
shall endeavour to prove myself one.' 



THE PROPOSAL 115 

' I need no further proofs,' she answered, 
looking at him with a smile. ' What is this 
scheme, dear, which is to prove so golden, 
and which is to win my father's congratula- 
tions ?' 

The captain laughed. 

' I doubt,' he answered, ' if he is of 
the so sweet, so delighted, I am sure, type of 
men.' 

' The scheme !' said the girl earnestly. 

* Ada, I must tell you here now what I 
have sometimes told you before. I am poor 
— a poor sailor, a stone-broke seaman with a 
hatred of his calling. I have been dismissed 
from my ship for a theft, and I look upon 
myself as lost. No firms owning such vessels 
as my dignity would suffer me to command 
would employ me. I am utterly poor — and 
thirty, and must make my fortune by a coup 
or end my existence.' 

' You need not talk like that.' 

* The comfortable grave is better than 
destitution, better than the cold winter's 
night and the thrust of the night-watch.' 

* Your scheme, dear !' 

' You have heard me speak of the little 

8—2 



ii6 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

vessel that is lying in the East Lidia Docks. 
You also know that I have been engaged 
whilst here in adding to the crew I desire to 
collect for her.' 

* You mean to go to sea in that ship ?' she 
asked eagerly. 

* Certainly, and shortly, and on what 
errand do you suppose, Ada ? I mean to be 
a gentleman,' he continued, smiling with a 
rather hard expression, * and I am determined 
to carry that calling handsomely. Now, 
listen, my love. Frequently from Lisbon 
and Cadiz the Spanish and Portuguese 
merchants are shipping heavy consignments 
in gold to the Spice and other Islands. I 
can ascertain the sailing of those ships, and 
gather their lading.' 

The girl began to eye him with a crooked 
brow, yet with sparkling eyes. 

* There is a fortune floating for a man in 
any one of those craft, and it is my idea, 
nay, it is my intention, to gut some stately 
galloon of her precious metal, and retire 
ashore upon it, living as a fine gentleman 
with you, Ada.' 

' If they catch you, you'll be hanged,' said 



THE PROPOSAL 117 

the girl, bending her dark brows at him. 
' For what you propose to attempt is piracy, 
and the pirate is one of those dangling figures 
which revolve in irons, and strike horror into 
the wayfarer.' 

' I am aware that they hang pirates. I 
am also aware,' said Captain Jackman, * that 
I must either make my fortune or end my 
life. I choose the former. It can be done, 
and easily done, in spite, dearest, of your 
beautiful staring face of wonder. I intend to 
equip my brig with certain artillery, which 
shall lie hidden until we get to sea. We 
bend sail and reeve all gear in dock, and 
blow out quietly with a few of the hands. 
As we sail down the Channel, we touch and 
pick up portions of the crew which I have 
engaged or which remain to be engaged. I 
am now in possession of one of the smartest 
and fastest brigs afloat, newly coppered to 
the bends, liberally armed, with boats at her 
davits and the spare rig of a brigantine upon 
the booms, which I have contrived by an 
arrangement of the maintop.' 

' And you mean to go to sea in this 
vessel to plunder ships ?* said Ada. 



ii8 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

* Yes. Are you shocked ?' he exclaimed 
tenderly. 

* Not even if you had resolved to become 
a smuggler — something surely low^er than a 
pirate.' 

* I shall be a pirate for a few days only,' 
said he, laughing. * Gentlemen have taken 
to the road and lived very handsomely upon 
the purses they have collected. Why should 
not a gentleman take to the sea, gather 
together by a like sort of collection from 
various trading ships such a sum as he 
might suppose would suffice his wants, and 
sail away — either home or abroad, according 
to the needs of his safety ?' 

* It is quite true,' said the girl, whose 
surprise was fast fading out of her striking 
face, and who looked with the eyes of love 
at the captain as he talked, * that gentlemen 
have taken to the road for a living. One 
got hanged. He had been a squire in 
Warwickshire. I have heard my father 
speak of a man who lived as a gentleman 
— who, indeed, was so ; he was discovered 
to have supported his family of a wife and 
one or two children by going out upon the 



THE PROPOSAL 119 

highway with a brace of pistols and a mask. 
He would have been taken ; but whilst they 
were thundering at his door he fell dead of 
heart disease, through excitement, grief, and 
shame.' 

She allowed her eyes to linger upon his 
whilst she pronounced these closing words. 

* All the chances will be upon our side,' 
said he, speaking with boyish delight, since 
he seemed to find a sympathy kindling in 
the girl with his scheme. ' The only risks 
I run will be from my own men. I believe 
I shall be easily able to overcome that 
difficulty.' 

* You will have to confess your business 
to them,' she said. 

* Certainly,' he answered. * But none yet 
suspect it. A tall merchant ship unarmed, 
well laden with goods of which I shall have 
received notice, sails very stately out of the 
port, say, of Lisbon. She has a barrel or two 
of money in her lazarette for the planters of 
the Portuguese settlements. She has forty 
men before the mast, and twenty in officers 
and idlers abaft it. Presently a white gleam 
is seen by the light of the moon. No notice 



I20 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

is taken. Why should notice be taken ? 
There are no pirates in those western seas 
so close aboard the coast. I wear, or tack 
ship, run my brig alongside, and board her, 
whilst half her people are asleep below.' 

Ada smiled whilst she listened to her 
lover's repetition of the fantastic sketch she 
herself had drawn at her father's breakfast- 
table. 

* We batten everybody down, leaving one 
to liberate the people after, then search for 
our needs, send the booty over the side into 
the brig, and sail away, Ada — and sail away, 
my love, a rich, unknown ship. What can 
they call us .? How can the terrified dagos 
describe us t A British crew won't stop for 
an enemy to look. She is a brig. They 
will know that ; but should she leave port 
again, she will be a brigantine. What 
could they report .? And what do you think 
of my scheme V 

' It is bold, possible, and dishonourable,' 
she said, with a subtle note of triumph in 
her voice, and the same high, encouraging 
colour of sympathy in her face. 

* It is not dishonourable,' said he calmly, 



THE PROPOSAL 121 

* for an Englishman to rob a foreigner upon 
the seas where the EngUshman has himself 
been most atrociously looted by most of the 
nations you can name. I must live by a 
dishonourable income or die by my own 
hand.' 

He made a step to her, and taking her 
cheeks, gently lifted her face to his, and 
said — 

* My life is now in your hands. I have 
confessed all to the woman I love, have ever 
loved, shall ever love. Knowing my scheme, 
Ada, will you be my wife ?' 

There was no hesitation in her answer. 

* Yes.' 

How could she resist his pleading presence, 
his manly candour with her, the love that 
lighted his eyes, the love that was now 
the single impulse of her life ? Worthier 
women for more worthless men have con- 
sented to go to the devil. 

He kissed and released her face, and said, 
as he stepped from her — 

* I shall be a proud man when I have you 
by my side. We ought to get married soon, 
Ada. Will you leave it to me to make all 



122 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

the arrangements, writing under cover to you 
at this Httle inn ?' 

' Yes,' she answered. * Father will never 
consent. Only think if he should get to 
hear ' She stopped herself. 

The captain laughed. * I must be off to 
the west,' said he, * in a day or two, in 
search of suitable vaults and a temporary 
home for you.' 

The girl arched her black eyebrows, and 
her lips fixed themselves in an expression of 
determination. 

' I must,' he continued, * discover if there 
are any smugglers' vaults on the Cornwall 
coast. I want to get as near to the Land's 
End as possible. You, without suspicion, 
can make inquiries amongst the men on the 
wharf and elsewhere.' 

* Will you return for the news I re- 
ceive ?' 

* You must write ' And he wrote an 

address on the fly-leaf of a pocket-book 
which he gave to her. * That till next 
Monday.' 

Then, after making arrangements for his 
writing to her from London, whither he 



THE PROPOSAL 123 

would have to repair for the further equip- 
ment of his little ship when he had done 
his business down west, he took her in his 
arms, kissed her, and conducted her from 
the inn. 



CHAPTER V. 



bugsby's hole. 



At the date of this story, remote as it is, the 
East India Docks were much as they now 
are, saving in certain non-essential points, 
such as the funnel. Dismount the funnel of 
to-day, and leave the pole-mast schooner 
rigged with its derrick, and old men of that 
age, stumbling with flapping skirts and 
breast-wide hats, would scarcely witness a 
change. 

On a certain day, when, strange to relate, 
it was fine weather over the Isle of Dogs, a 
great plenty of tall and stately ships lay in 
these East India Docks. Some were loaded 
deep, and ready for the voyage, fresh with 
paint, and sparkling with the glory of glitter- 
ing gilt and radiant counters. Some had 
but recently hauled in, and showed signs of 



BUGSBY'S HOLE 125 

bitter conflict with the ocean ; the red stain 
drained from the bolt, the bolt was twisted, 
a length of bulwark was stove. 

Up in a corner, inside a fine West India- 
man, lay Captain Jackman's brig, about 
which we have already heard a great deal. 
His father had owned her, and when young 
had sailed her, and in his time had made 
money out of her. He bequeathed the 
little ship to his son Walter, praying that 
he would take good care of her, as she 
inherited several fine traditions, was the 
noblest sailer of all vessels so rigged that 
ever he had known, and was a magnificent 
sea boat. 

They were painting her black this day ; 
the parts the painters over the side were 
covering showed of a dirty white. They 
were likewise sending her yards aloft, and 
Captain Jackman, as he came along, could 
not fail to admire the exquisite precision 
with which the two masts were stayed. He 
saw speed in their gentle devoir to the bow ; 
he stopped a minute to watch the painters, 
and to observe the man who was gilding the 
small figure-head under the long bowsprit 



126 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

over-laid by the jibbooms. He then went 
on board. 

A man dressed in the style of a master- 
rigger touched his cap on Jackman's enter- 
ing. A number of hands were in motion 
about the decks ; the little ship was full of 
business, there had evidently come some 
final call. 

' Well, Tomson,' said Jackman to the man 
who had touched his cap, ' how are you 
getting on .?' 

* Smartly, sir. Your ship shall be ready 
for you by your date.' 

* Can you contrive to convert that main- 
top into a schooner rig on emergency ?' 

* It can be done, sir.' 

As the man spoke these words a messenger 
came over the gangway and handed the 
captain a letter. He looked at it, slightly 
changed colour, and walked right aft, where 
he was alone. . The missive, dated from 
Commander Conway's house, ran thus — 

' My dearest Walter, 

* I hasten to communicate what I 
hope will prove a useful piece of intelligence 



BUGSBY'S HOLE 127 

to you. I have been busily making inquiries 
about disused smugglers' caves down west, 
with this result. A sailor named Butler 
came to me yesterday and said he could 
produce a man, a rather old man, who could 
furnish information of a curious cave striking 
from the roof of the cliff to the wash of the 
sea. It had not been used since 1 807, but 
you can still at ebb walk from the lower 
orifice on to the beach, and from the next to 
the lower orifice you can use a boat whilst 
the tide is making. I will give you the 
name and address of the owner on your pass- 
ing through here, as that you must do, for it 
is my particular desire to see you. 

* How far has been your advance in this 
tremendous business t Prav do not be com- 
municative to strangers. Are not you apt to 
be a little candid, and to forget that you 
were so .? The sailor is a character of perfect 
sensibility, and he has to carefully guard 
himself against the worldly people he meets 
ashore — people who will wring his business 
out of him, and then, if they can make no 
use of it, fling it to the dogs. Oh, I quite 
forgot to say in its place that with these 



128 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

subterranean stairs to the sea is associated 
a little house that stands dose to the main 
entrance, and you can enter it by a man- 
hole in the house itself. This might prove 
useful. 

' The district is very desolate, the old man 
told me — a livid, gale-swept moor with no 
habitation within a good drive. Revenue 
people, I am informed, are occasionally seen 
on that part of the coast, but at such long 
intervals that they might as well be viewed 
as strange objects of interest. The revenue 
cutter may also be seen plying off the land ; 
but her business would seem to be far higher 
up. 

* I am never weary of admiring your 
glorious gift. Oh, how beautifully it sparkles 
by candlelight ! My father's mood is as 
stern and unbending as ever. I believe he 
would strike me if I even referred to you. 
I heard Captain Burgoyne asking, in his 
coarse way, which the commander relishes, 
" Don't you want your wench to get married 
at all, Conway ? Suppose you pop off on a 
sudden — and I may tell you Fve long viewed 
with anxiety that stout throat and immense 



BUGSBY'S HOLE 129 

chest of yours — what is your girl to do ? 
She is unmated. Who is to look after her ? 
And she is pre-eminently one of those young 
parties who need looking after." 

* I was listening greedily halfway up the 
stairs, down which I was coming at the 
moment of arrest, dressed for a visit. My 
father answered, ** I am not going to have 
for a son-in-law a man who may end his 
career at the gibbet within the next month." 
" Chaw ! you dined with him. He was an 
honourable gentleman then." My father 
began to bluster. Here stupid Mrs. Dove 
came creaking downstairs, and called to me 
to go into the hall and turn that she might 
admire me. 

* All the same I managed to catch a frag- 
ment of Captain Burgoyne's remark. " He 
is good-looking. He is qualified to command 
a ship. He can handle a ship when he 
pleases." " No," thundered the commander 
— and as I passed through the hall door, 
after giving Mrs. Dove a nod — *' Are you," 
shouted my father, " going to be satisfied 
with his cool statement of that large loss of 
money .?" 

9 



I30 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

* I could not linger, as Mrs. Dove was 
watching me with affectionate interest from 
the staircase, and so I left the house. Nothing 
that my father can say can affect my love. 
I am dying to be your wife, and you will 
find me ready at the first signal you hoist. 
Wherever you are I am, in spirit and devo- 
tion.' 

She concluded in terms of fervent affec- 
tion. 

The captain kissed the letter, and read it 
twice, and whilst he was putting it in his 
pocket with the care of a document worth 
thousands, he was hailed from the quay 
alongside. 

* How d'ye, Jackman V 

He looked over and saw a middle-aged 
man dressed in the pilot cloth of the master's 
wear. 

* How are you, Phillips ?' 

* Any good news for me in that letter 
you've just now pocketed ?' 

Jackman made no reply. 

* Got a ship yet ?' 

The other flourished ::his hand over his 
brig. 



BUGSBY'S HOLE 131 

* Ah, but that's the monkey eating his 
own tail.' After a pause — * Has any further 
news,' cried the captain on the quay, ' been 
heard of the money you were robbed of ?' 

' It's long ago washed down fifteen 
hundred throats, and purchased enjoyment 
of fifteen hundred hideous revelries,' answered 
Jackman, nodding and smiling ; and saying 
this, he passed forward, and the captain 
ashore walked on, with a single turn of his 
head to gaze at the ship, as if considering 
Jackman's business in fitting her out and how 
much the job cost. 

Jackman was a master in expression of 
face ; had he combined the other necessary 
qualities he would have been the greatest 
actor of his day, and risen to the large 
reputation of Mr. Kemble or Mr. Kean. 
Nobody but must have imagined that he was 
vastly tickled by the inquiries about the 
stolen money sung up by the captain on the 
quay. His face, having recovered from its 
smile, wore its ordinary placid and even 
sweet expression, and with that face upon 
him he conversed about the affairs of the 
brig with the man who had touched his hat 

9-2 



132 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

to him on his entering the vessel. He did 
not carry the dramatic airs of the sailor ; 
that generation of seamen were leaving those 
airs for the American hoasters to import. 
He looked a thorough gentleman, dressed 
indeed with some reference to his vocation, 
but as one who does not love to represent 
himself a sailor by his clothes. 

He roamed a little while about his brig, 
and spoke a friendly word here and there to 
some of the men. 

This brig would be laughed at in this age 
as a heavy old waggon, and so she showed 
as she sat upon the water, because of her 
very square stern, her breadth of beam, and 
the very preposterous steeve which they gave 
to their bowsprits in the beginning of this 
age. Yet, carrying lofty masts, and being 
very square-rigged, she did not show as the 
stumpy bulk which she looked when you 
gazed forward from her taffrail. Her lines 
at her cutwater, running well aft, might 
have been laid in Aberdeen, and, though 
she was plump aft, they had given her a lift 
of counter which raised her after-part clear 
of that drawing roll of sea, which plump 



BUGSBY'S HOLE 133 

ships of this sort are in the habit of dragging 
with them. On deck she was simply 
equipped as a trading brig should be. She 
had a little green caboose for cooking the 
men's dinner in ; a forecastle under deck, 
with a square hole to enter by, painted casks 
for liquor and meat ; skylights aft, and a 
plain companion conducting to the cabin. 

Such was the brig Gypsy, 180 tons, Jack- 
man commander, bequeathed to him by his 
father, who had also received her as a bequest 
from his father. 

He lingered on board the greater part 
of the day, superintending the business of 
fitting out, but in a furtive sort of way, 
almost noticeable to any one with sharp 
sight, as though, in fact, he did not belong 
to the brig. He went ashore at five o'clock, 
walking slowly, and carefully reading his 
sweetheart's letter. 

A journey by coach to anywhere, in the 
time of this book, was an achievement more 
or less significant. Men made their wills 
before their departure. They were in the 
right. What are the risks of the rail as 
compared with the risks of the road ? You 



134 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

have the collision. In the good old times 
you had the masked highwayman with the 
loaded pistols, and the horrible threat ; you 
had the deep ditch into which the great 
lumbering coach, in some transport of 
downhill manoeuvring, was overset. You 
had lanes of mud, in which all got out and 
shoved ; you had the dangers of long 
exposure to the air, so that when you 
finally arrived you were nearly dead with 
some affection of the chest. 

Some hundreds of miles away from 
London, measurable now in a day by 
steam, in those times in about a week, 
stood a little village of the hard Cornwall 
grey stone that makes Penzance, in spite 
of its architecture, picturesque. The village 
was on the coast, distant about two miles 
from the sea, and was pretty with many 
little gardens, and remarkable in its air of 
genial originality ; as though, having grown 
so far afield, it had borrowed its prejudices 
nowhere. A village inn fronted the high 
road. It swung the sign of * Nelson.' Nelson 
was still much in the public mind in those 
days. A stoutly built fellow in a lazy, 



BUGSBY'S HOLE 135 

lounging walk, came to the door, and, 
looking up the road, said to some one 
within — 

* What makes the coach late ?' 

* They time themselves out o' greediness, 
and can't keep their word !' exclaimed a 
female voice. 

Now, as this was said, a noise of distant 
thunder was heard, and lo ! the coach, at 
hard gallop, turned the corner, the guard 
bugling, and the foam flaking from the 
horses' mouths. It rattled up, with all the 
fine effect of those glistening, grandly 
handled vehicles, to the door of the 
* Nelson,' and stopped, the horses blowing 
smoke, and one white female face, prim 
in a Quaker's bonnet, staring through an 
inside window. 

There was a single traveller on top of 
the coach. He had his cloak rolled well 
around him, and descended with the move- 
ments of a half-frozen man. He asked for 
something to eat and drink, and was shown 
into a parlour where, with as little loss of 
time as possible, they served him handsomely 
with chops and potatoes and excellent beer. 



136 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

He then produced a pipe, and sat with his 
feet to the fire. On the entrance of the 
landlord to remove the dishes, Captain 
Jackman said languidly — 

' Can I have a bed in your house ?' 

* Yes, sir.' 

' I am here to visit a man named 
Thomas Bruton. Do you know him ?' 

* Well, I've known Tom half my life.' 

* Do you think he would come across 
and talk with me on a business matter 
I have in mind ?' 

* I'll fetch him for you now, sir. If 
he's out, he can't be far oif. He lives 
but five doors down.' 

The landlord went out with a load of 
plates and dishes, and Captain Jackman sat 
musing in front of the fire, of whose warmth 
and comfort he was greatly in need. After 
a short absence the landlord returned, ac- 
companied by a man whose extremely ugly 
face discovered many marks of astonishment. 
He bobbed from side to side to catch a view 
of the gentleman who wanted him. He 
wore a little grey wig, and was deeply pitted 
with small-pox ; he was blind of one eye, 



BUGSBY'S HOLE 137 

and the other looked into his nose, so that 
it amazed those he conversed with that he 
saw them. 

' Is it Thomas Bruton that you want, 
gentleman ?' said the man, stepping round 
the table to the side of the captain and 
staring at him. 

' Are you he ?' answered Jackman, rising 
and smiling. 

* Ay, and not ashamed of it,' responded 
the fellow, whose appearance was decidedly 
villainous. 

' I want ten minutes' talk with you ; sit 
down. Landlord, fetch this gentleman a 
pint of ale, and kindly leave us.' 

This was done. Bruton continued to run 
his malevolent eye with amazement all over 
the captain, who resumed his seat. 

' I understand,' began Captain Jackman, 
' that you are the proprietor of a little 
property, some twelve or fifteen miles down 
the coast here, called Bugsby's Hole.' 

* They're right who says so,' answered the 
man, sitting squarely before his liquor. 

' You want to sell it ?' 

* To him as '11 buy, yes.' 



138 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

' First, what's your price ?' 

* Sixty pound cash down. I've Hved 
in that house myself, and can warrant 

it; 

* I'll give you that money for it, if the 
house and the neighbourhood and the cave 
suit me,' said Jackman. 

* You want the cave too !' said the man, 
with an ugly expressive grin. 

' I buy the house because I may require 
the cave.' 

* Well,' said the man after a little reflec- 
tion, * ye shall have the cave in. First class 
of their sort they are ; but they never would 
ha' been included if ye hadn't offered for the 
house outright, nor would I ha' been willin' 
to let the house on any terms.' 

* So I had gathered, and was prepared 
for. Ask no questions,' said the captain, 
* and I'll ask none. When can I view the 
property ?' 

Bruton pulled out a heavy gold watch. 

* Not to-day !' exclaimed the captain, * I 
am dog-tired. Can you procure a vehicle 
so that we may start to-morrow at about ten 
o'clock ?' 



BUGSBY'S HOLE 139 

' Right, sir !' said the man with a great 
manner of cheerfulness. 

At the hour named Bruton drove up to 
the * Nelson Inn ' in a light cart drawn by a 
small strong horse, and Captain Jackman got 
in. A little crowd had collected to witness 
their going. A stranger was the rarest of 
coast gulls in those parts. His face, his 
apparel, his bearing, suggested a distant place 
and another sort of civilization. Bruton 
flicked his horse, and they started down a 
pebbly roaring road. There was no talk- 
ing. They went over ruts and ridges pre- 
sently at a rate of about ten miles an 
hour, and the captain was flung over 
Bruton's knee, and still there was no 
talking. 

At last they came to a level plain of moor, 
sallow, discoloured, desolate as the edge of 
coast and rim of sea that was now sweeping 
round to their progress so as to meet them. 
Then the captain could make Bruton hear 
this — 

* Do you ever use your house for the 
running of goods ?' 

' Who are you that I should report 



I40 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

myself?' And the squint turned fiercely 
upon Jackman. 

* Oh, I can be candid with such as you,' 
exclaimed the captain, with a loud laugh. 
' Tou don't peach. You have secrets which 
keep you men of honour. See here, now.' 
He laid his hand upon Bruton's shoulder, 
and said, * I am pirate and smuggler !' 

* Where have you been running ?' 

* Folkestone.' 

* Ye h'ant got the looks of one of us.' 

* I am a gentleman,' exclaimed Jackman 
warmly, * with as determined a resolution to 
make a fortune as others have. The sea 
promises a good yield. You must have done 
well out of her to live without work at your 
time of life.' 

' The ocean's paid me well. Fm bound 
to say that,' said Mr. Bruton, relaxing. 
* And since you're so free, so'll I be. The 
cottage and the cave Fm a-driving you to, 
and which'll soon heave in sight, was used 
by me and my missis and the children as a 
dwelling-house and a storeroom for the 
choicest of the run goods, the rest being 
stowed in secret places, or in the steps.' 



BUGSBY'S HOLE 141 

' The steps,' echoed the captain. 

' Ay, you can step down to the foam of 
the water. It's a low front of chff here- 
abouts.' 

* Were you successful in your hidings ?' 

* To tell you the truth,' the man an- 
swered in a grumbling note of laughter, 
* we were so rarely troubled that I believe 
we came off with nigh everything we got 
ashore.' 

* Piracy is a dangerous trade,' said Cap- 
tain Jackman, talking to this man as if he 
was a brother pirate. *My ship is not to be 
seen once too often in that market, and 
newly rigged and freshly painted, she may 
complete the sum of money I want, and 
which as a gentleman I cannot possibly live 
without, if we rig her afresh and paint her a 
new colour.' 

Bruton turned his squint eye upon his 
companion. He scarcely knew what to 
think of him. ' Where's your gang V said 
he. 

* I have men fit to board and capture a 
line-of-battle ship,' was the answer. 

Bruton pointed dumbly ahead with his 



142 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

whip ; and Jackman saw a little cottage upon 
the horizon, the most melancholy picture in 
the world under the grey sky, and set to the 
music of the wind that was now coming a 
little wildly off that opening eye of sea on 
their left. They drove rapidly, and drew up 
at the cottage door. It was a strong house, 
fit for a powder-magazine, built of Cornish 
flag, put together with a heedlessness of 
aspect that lent it beauty of the roughest 
sort. 

It had several little windows on either 
side, a fair piece of ground plotted out at 
the back, a small front garden, and was 
certainly a dead broke bargain with its 
stairs, even for moral living, at the money 
asked. 

Bruton made his horse fast, pulled out a 
key, and they entered his singular, very 
much detached house. It was dusty and 
grimy, and showed a great plenty of beer 
stains, and rum stains, and perhaps blood 
stains. It was naked to the windows of 
furniture. It stood waiting for the hurricanes 
of that iron coast to beat it down and lay its 
spirit to soil. 



BUGSBY'S HOLE 143 

' This will do,' said Jackman, after looking 
over the house. ' Show me your stairs, 
Mr. Bruton.' 

But first Mr. Bruton exposed a number of 
secret hiding-places in the house itself, the 
sight of which greatly delighted Captain 
Jackman. They were perfect, he thought, 
as places of concealment. They next went 
to the stairs. These were entered from 
without. They had no trap or cover. 

* What's the good of a hatch ?' said 
Mr. Bruton, descending. 

The sea-flash in the base gave them light, 
and the light behind followed them. Mr. 
Bruton pointed to one or two avenues in 
which he said Captain Jackman and his 
hearties would find hiding-places — none 
more perfect along the coast, all open now, 
and so discoverable, being no longer needed. 
They stood on a step clear of the massive 
belch of the breaker. 

' There's some fine weather here for land- 
ing, I suppose .?' 

* If there wasn't,' said Mr. Bruton, ' how 
should I be now worth my fourteen thousand 
pounds, two 'ouses, not counting this one, 



144 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

and a comfortable lugger for my diversion, if 
1 hadn't snicked it all off the revenue ?' 

* Good, come up,' cried Captain Jackman, 
with excitement. * Let your gains be mine, 
and I'll bless your name.' 

' Will you buy the house ?' said the man. 

* Yes,' answered the captain, * and return 
with you to the town, where you'll recom- 
mend me to people who'll clean and furnish 
it comfortably whilst I am away on business 
elsewhere.* 

' That shall be done, sir, and under my 
superintendence,' said Bruton, as they 
emerged, followed by the distant hollow 
roar of the sea. 

****** 

Commander Conway strode impatiently 
about his little parlour. It was breakfast 
time, and there was a smell of fried fish in 
the house. Putting his head out he caught 
sight of Mrs. Dove at the end of the passage, 
and cried — 

* Why does Miss Ada keep me waiting ? 
Go and let her know that breakfast is 
ready, and tell her to come down, dressed or 
undressed.' 



BUGSBY'S HOLE 145 

He was warm with temper, and wiped 
his face. His daughter had for years been a 
mortification to him in a quiet way. She 
would snub him in company, she would 
decline to walk with him. She was for ever 
expressing detestation of the place, knowing 
that her father, in stern reality, could not 
afford a move. In the depths of his soul, 
the old gentleman felt a little sick of these 
yearly experiences of his, and was perfectly 
willing to marry her to any one whom he 
should think fit to be her husband. Jack- 
man was not that man. What was there in 
that man that made the austere, keen-eyed 
commander witness a character in his beauty 
invisible to the girl .? Conway had mixed 
with men, and knew human nature. Of one 
dark side of man's character or spirit he 
could claim a particular knowledge. 

These thoughts ran in his head whilst he 
waited. Suddenly he heard Mrs. Dove, who 
was a very slow woman, come tumbling 
downstairs, and in a moment she had fallen 
against Conway. 

' What now ?' said the commander, sternly 
thrusting her back. 

10 



146 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

' As I live to say it, sir,' cried the poor old 
lady, in broken tones of purest agitation and 
fright, ' Miss Ada didn't sleep under your 
roof last night !' 

The enraged commander studied the old 
working face with a gaze horrible with 
menace, then thrusting past her he went 
upstairs and entered his daughter's room. 
The bed had been untouched. Certainly 
she had said * Good-night ' to him on the 
landing. She had left when the house was 
in darkness, suppose an hour after saying 
* Good-night.' With whom had she eloped .? 
Most undoubtedly with that scoundrel. 
Captain Jackman. 

The commander stood in the middle of 
his daughter's room, looking round him. 
His strong breast hove a sob once, and he 
muttered to himself, * What shall I do ?' 
The runaway had ten hours' advantage of 
any pursuit ; but whither, to what place 
should she be pursued ? Had she left no 
note, no communication ? But then, 
although she had not slept in her bed, had 
she eloped ? The commander went down- 
stairs to eat his breakfast. 



BUGSBY'S HOLE 147 

Mrs. Dove stood in the room, white with 
anxiety and agitation. 

' Oh, commander, is she gone, do you 
think ? Is she gone ofF, do you imagine, 
with the sea captain ?' And she wrung her 
hands, and her face worked in wrinkles. 

* With whom else ?' sternly replied the 
commander, seating himself before his 
favourite fried sole, and beginning a break- 
fast that scarcely promised its usual hearti- 
ness. 

* What can be done, sir, to save her .?' 

* Don't you know, ma'm,' answered the 
commander, * it has been said, that the virtue 
that needs a sentinel is not worth guarding .? 
What would you do to save her ? She's 
ahead of us by ten or eleven hours. The 
heart of ice had no damned right to leave me 
without a single farewell or word of her 
intention.' 

' I can't believe that, sir. I cant believe 
she'd go off without leaving a note. I'll 
make another search.' 

She stumped upstairs. The commander 
ate his fish, often looking hard out of the 
window. Keen distress worked in his bosom. 

10 — 2 



148 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

But his face of iron masked it. She had left 
no letter, he thought to himself. She would 
have no talent at kindness in unkindness. 
She must sheath her knife to the hilt to 
make the stroke effectual to her. As he 
thought thus, Mrs. Dove entered bearing a 
note. Her face had lost its w^orking 
wrinkles of horror ; she entered with some- 
thing of gaiety. 

* I've found this behind the dressing-table, 
where it had been blown down by the 
draught from the open window. I knew — 
I knew, dear heart, she wouldn't go away 
without saying good-bye.' 

She handed the letter to the commander, 
who quietly put down his knife and fork, 
took the letter, and read — 

' Commander Conway, R.N.' 

He then opened the letter. It was of two 
folded sheets, with very little in them, and 
the missive ran thus — 

' Dear Father, 

* I am eloping to-night with my 
darling Walter Jackman. This uncomfort- 
able form of marriage need not have hap- 



BUGSBY'S HOLE 149 

pened had you proved reasonable, but you 
were ever in extremes in your likes and dis- 
likes. I am now going to be happy after 
many years of dulness and contemptible 
vexations, where my beauty was fast yellow- 
ing, and where I had not a friend whom I 
valued. I do not say where we are going, 
for I do not want you to give yourself the 
trouble of following me. It is impossible 
for you to miss me. We saw so little of 
each other. It was only the sense of my 
being in the house that gave you satisfaction. 
I will write to you when I am settled, 
and shall hope to hear from you. And 
so, with love, and a kiss of farewell, and 
begging you will not take this too much to 
heart, 

' I am, 
* Your always affectionate daughter, 

' Ada Conway.' 

* Always affectionate daughter !' rasped 
out the commander, bringing his fist down 
on a sheet of the letter. * How do you 
like the notion of calling Ada Conway 
Mrs. Walter Jackman ?' 



I50 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

And he ground his teeth, and left the 
breakfast-table. 

* I am glad I found the letter,' said 
Mrs. Dove. ' It shows she's not so bad. 
But, oh, she's wicked — she's wicked to treat 
her poor old father so.' 

Conway cut the old woman short by 
stepping on to his lawn. He filled a 
pipe, and paced to and fro. A little cannon 
stood at each corner of this lawn, and 
amidships there had been reared a mighty 
flagstaff, which one night came down in a 
gale of wind with an incredible thunder of 
noise. It did little mischief; yet had it 
struck the commander's house, it is odds, 
seeing that his bedroom immediately faced 
it, if it had not smashed him as flat as his 
roof 

He walked for some time meditating in 
exasperation. He was helpless. What 
could he do ? Presently there came along 
the clifFs side, within easy hail of the 
commander, Mr. Leaddropper and Captain 
Burgoyne. Both men were wrapped in 
stout pilot-cloth, and the sea never shaped, 
chiselled, coloured, clothed, and sent adrift 



BUGSBY'S HOLE 151 

to get a living a more perfect sailor than 
Burgoyne. 

They saw Conway, and came rolling 
across. 

* Sorry to hear the bad news, commander,' 
said Leaddropper. 

Conway stared. * How the devil should 
you know it ?' he roared. ' It's scarcely 
known to myself yet !' 

' We met the butcher, who had called for 
orders,' said Burgoyne. * You'll never get 
a servant to keep a secret. And it's nigh 
halfway over the town already.' 

' Commander,' exclaimed old Leaddropper 
in a broken voice, ' I am truly sorry for 
you.' 

' A plague on all sorrow !' burst out 
Conway, breathing short. 

* But it's the business of all parents to get 
their daughters married,' continued the pilot; 
* and you weren't going to find soundings for 
her in that way here. She's done for herself; 
and since she's done it, why,' cried he, with 
a rollicking air, * let us take the earliest 
occasion to drink their healths !' 

' Leaddropper,' said Burgoyne, who saw 



152 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

that Conway could scarcely contain his 
rage, * I don't think the commander rightly 
relishes this talk just now. Can I be of 
any service to you ?' he exclaimed, frankly 
addressing Conway. 

* Thanks. I am an old man, and this 
blow has somewhat stunned me. She was 
my only child, and I am a widower. I 
should wish for prudent counsel. Although 
they be married, I should like to know 
whether she's not to be torn from the 
beggar's embraces, and brought back here 
and locked up clear of him.' 

His companions gravely shook their 
heads. 

* Have you any idea where she's gone 
to ?' asked the pilot. 

' To sea in the beggar's brig ; that's my 
opinion.' 

' So he's got a brig,' said the pilot, 
interested. * He may turn out better than 
you think.' 

They discoursed for some time in this 
style. They were all equally ignorant, and 
had therefore nothing to suggest or com- 
municate. This idle council concluded by 



BUGSBY'S HOLE 153 

the commander swearing that he would go 
to London by next day's coach, visit the 
owners of the Lovelacey and make all human 
and possible inquiries in the docks about the 
man Jackman, his brig, his antecedents ; 
and, for all he knew, he might in this way 
get to find out where his daughter was ; for 
the scoundrel Jackman was pretty certain 
to make sail for London, where his brig 
was, and where also he could easily get 
married. 

It was a tremendous undertaking — very 
expensive, very cold at that time of the year, 
tedious beyond any words in human speech, 
and it was now twelve years since the 
commander had visited the Metropolis on 
top of a West of England mail-coach. 
Behold him next day seated on the roof of 
a stout, handsome, well-apparelled vehicle ! 
On his arrival in London he was nearly 
dead, in spite of the several comfortable 
breaks. He had long been used to his 
own armchair and his own bed, and hated 
travelling by coach. Nevertheless, here he 
was at last in that marvellous Metropolis, 
which staggers the nose more than any 



154 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

other sense on one's first entry on top of a 
vehicle from miles of turnips and acres of 
grain. 

It was twelve o'clock in the day. The 
commander descended stiff from the coach, 
entered a neighbouring eating-house, where 
he called for a plate of beef and a pint of 
ale, which did him good. He then, after 
making full inquiry, walked to the offices of 
the owners of the ship Lovelace. Only one 
of her owners was at business. This was 
the tall, rather gentlemanly man, Sir William 
Williams, who bent his body in halves when 
he talked, and preserved most of the styles 
of the last age. On his learning that the 
tall gentleman was an owner, the com- 
mander told him who he was, and begged 
for an interview. This was immediately 
granted, and they repaired together to a 
small back office, bulk-headed off by glass 
panels. 

' I have travelled many leagues, sir,' 
began the commander, ' to obtain at this 
office any information that may enable me 
to get at one Captain Jackman, who, I 
bitterly lament to say, after haunting our 



BUGSBY'S HOLE 155 

parts, has,' he continued, colouring with 
emotion and shame, * run away with my 
daughter, my only child.' 

Sir William looked at him gravely and 
sympathetically. ' I will not go behind 
anything your feelings may dictate,' he 
said. * We hold our own opinion of the 
fellow at this office. I do not think it's 
likely that he will find employment under 
any other house-flag, let alone ours. His 
name has become notorious through his loss 
of the fifteen hundred sovereigns belonging 
to us.' 

* It was no more stolen from him ' 

began the commander. 

Sir William lifted his hand, with a grave 
smile. * We know that he has been spend- 
ing money in your parts,' he said ; * but, 
then, he may tell you that that is the money 
with which we paid him off. He has 
equipped his brig. He will prove to you 
that he has borrowed money upon her for 
trading purposes. Unless he may be con- 
victed, we would rather not touch him. 
Proofs to the hilt, or silence, that is my 
theory of our British law.' 



156 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

* Has he been seen about the docks ?' 
asked the commander. 

' I don't know.' 

' He is fitting out his brig, isn't he ?' 

' She sailed some days ago.' 

' Where bound to ?' 

' Nominally to Oporto,' answered Sir 
William, smiling. 

' He could not have been in charge. The 
fellow has only a few hours' start of me.' 

' They may have come up to London to 
be married, and they may join the brig after 
they're man and wife,' said Sir William, 
viewing the commander's face with concern. 

* Then she'll be hove to, waiting for 
them !' cried Conway. * Surely she'd be 
in the river ! By Heaven, I may intercept 
them yet, and give him hell, if nothing 
worse happens !' 

Sir William, who lived very strictly after 
the fashion of most shipowners, looked very 
grave for a moment ; then, unbending, he 
said — 

' Your ear, sir.' And after whispering he 
sprang erect. 

And the commander shouted, * I had 



BUGSBY'S HOLE 157 

suspected it from the moment of my 
setting eyes on him ! The brig must be 
in the river ! They'll join her leisurely ! 
She'll want to see the sights ! I'll intercept 
her ! But they will be married — they will 
be married !' 

Sir William accompanied him to the 
pavement, and promised him all the infor- 
mation he could obtain, both as to the man 
and as to the brig. 



CHAPTER VI. 

FATHER AND DAUGHTER. 

The brig Gypsy lay in the Thames off Grave- 
send. She had been fast at her mooring 
buoy for some days. She was now fully 
equipped for the sea, and a very handsome 
boat, pierced for three guns of a side, with 
place for a pivoted long nine-pounder forward 
or aft. 

In those days the peaceful trader often 
sailed from the Thames with guns run out. 
Especially did she need to give this hint if 
her course for traffic carried her into the 
ways where the galley-pirate still lingered, 
where the slave-ship troubled the waters 
with her hellish keel, where, in short, there 
were numerous vessels afloat of very doubt- 
ful respectability. 

Here, then, lay the brig Gypsy, Captain 



FATHER AND DAUGHTER 159 

Jackman's heirloom, and much good had his 
worthy father hoped it would do him. Men 
in craft, pushing slowly by in bows as round 
as a potato, gazed at the brig with admira- 
tion. They would like to have such a little 
vessel to command. She was going to make 
a pleasant voyage, bet your heart. She 
certainly looked more like a pleasure craft 
rigged as a sham trader, than a vessel of 
commerce, and many would have expected 
to see the dresses of ladies fluttering on board 
of her, and a number of gentlemen, well 
dressed, ready for the start, and for enjoy- 
ment. 

It was the fifth day of the Gypsy s deten- 
tion. The river was running rapidly and 
bearing all sorts of vessels seawards, whilst 
those forging inwards had to strike with a 
forefoot of claws to catch the way the breeze 
was giving them. It was a dull afternoon. 
The shipping showed shabbily. The water 
flowed in lead, and the sky was a rainy 
brown, sickly with the slow motion of un- 
wholesome yellow cloud. A large man, 
with a huge face made up as it might appear 
of pieces of putty, the seams showing so as 



i6o A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

to render his mask of face extraordinary, 
overhung the bulwark rail, with his foot on 
a carronade, and his gaze bent on a boat that 
was approaching the brig almost athwart 
stream from the Gravesend pier. The 
wrinkles grew deep in his brow as the boat 
neared the vessel, until, giving a wild laugh, 
he cried to himself, ' Blow'd if it ain't 
Commander Conway !* 

The men got their boat alongside, and 
the commander handed himself up the three 
or four steps which lay over the gangway. 
The huge putty-faced man saluted him. 

' I thought you'd know me, Hoey. Are 
they aboard ?' 

* You mean the master and wife, sir .?' 
' No one else,' said the commander. 

* They are not, then, and we've been here 
fooling around this buoy five days.' 

* You're mate of this ship, aren't you .?' 
said the commander. 

' Yes, sir,' answered the man, with some- 
thing of a lumpish grin. 

* How many mates have you .?' 
' Myself and another.' 

' I mean to remain on board until the 



FATHER AND DAUGHTER i6i 

arrival of my daughter, and then,' said the 
commander firmly, almost to grimness, 'shall 
ask you. Bill Hoey, to set me and her ashore 
at our home, which is a good way down 
Channel, as of course you know.' 

* I've signed articles under Captain Jack- 
man. I can take no liberties, I am afraid.' 

* We shall see. I will bring you and 
the others to a right state of mind before 
I've done with you,' said the commander, 
shooting sharp glances in the direction of 
a number of seamen who were lounging 
on the forecastle and smoking, and look- 
ing at the land, and apparently filling 
their end of the little ship with their 
numbers. 

' Can you give us any idea when the 
captain's coming off, sir .?' said Hoey. 

* He may be here to-day, or to-morrow, 
or next day. He'll not long tarry. I have 
hunted the docks for good purpose, and 
have gathered information which I shall 
communicate to the crew in proper time. 
Where are you bound to, do you think ?' 

The huge Bill Hoey made no answer, and 
looked sheepish. 

1 1 



i62 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

' You are cleared for the port of Oporto,' 
continued the commander. 

' For the land of romance, more likely,' 
answered Bill Hoey, who, laughing respect- 
fully, saluted and crossed the deck, his 
dutifulness — which is one of the glories 
of the English seaman — being alarmed by 
the commander's questions and his unre- 
vealed knowledge. 

The commander went to the side, paid 
the boatmen, received his valise, dismissed 
the boat, and seeing a man approaching the 
little companion, he gave him the valise and 
told him to take it below. 

' Into the living room, sir ?' said the man. 

* Death and fire, has it come to a sailor 
not knowing what below means !' 

' But what's your cabin ?' said the fellow 
sulkily; * that's what I meant. There are but 
three ; two's occupied, and one's the pantry.' 

*Take that thing below!' repeated the 
commander, gesticulating with a shovel- 
shaped hand, and speaking in that tone of 
voice to which the blue-jacket is used when 
the naval officer's digestion is a little out of 
repair. The commander then made the 



FATHER AND DAUGHTER 163 

rounds of the brig. He gazed first with 
astonishment and attention at the guns, the 
tompions of which were in. He studied the 
little brig aloft, and secretly admired her. 

' What a villain,' he said to himself, ' to 
marry my daughter, and then put his ship to 
this use !' 

* I beg your pardon, sir,' said Hoey the 
mate, coming over to him, * but is your 
honour sailing with us ?' 

* I am just doing what I blessed well 
please,' cried the commander, blood-red with 
rage at being questioned by a man filling 
Hoey's post. * You will do me the favour 
to leave me alone, merely sending the 
steward to me, as I am going below.' 

The habit of command was to be seen 
in the commander. Hoey read the taut 
discipline of the quarter-deck in old Conway, 
from his white hair to his buckled shoes. 
He touched his cap, as though the com- 
mander had been the skipper himself. 
Conway went below, and in a few minutes 
a young seaman, dressed in a camlet jacket, 
made his appearance. Conway had been 
looking round the cabin. It was a com- 

II — 2 



1 64 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

fortable little berth. A table equal to 
dining two persons at a time was fixed 
amidship, and there were three sleeping 
berths, one of which was the pantry and 
larder. 

* I shall want to sleep here,' said the 
commander. ' That's my valise. Where 
can I rest my head o' night down Channel ?' 

The young steward, recognising some- 
thing very superior to the average officer 
he was used to, in this square man of 
fighting aspect, said — 

* The capt'n sleeps there, and his lady 
there, sir. And this 'ere's been made a 
pantry of,' and he opened the little door. 

There was an unnecessary variety of 
crockery, all of a much too expensive sort 
for a common little trading brig. The 
commander stood wrapped in contemplation. 
He then looked at a locker which ran along 
the ship's side parallel with the table, and 
formed, so to speak, a bench. 

* That'll make me all the bed I want,' 
said he. * Which is my daughter's berth ?' 

* The starboard one, sir.' 

The commander walked into it, followed 



FATHER AND DAUGHTER 165 

like a sentry by the steward, who could not 
understand this severe square gentleman's 
cool procedure on board a ship that did not 
belong to him. 

Conway saw a little trunk belonging to 
his daughter. A handbag was hanging 
under a looking-glass. Under the glass 
was a small oil-painting of Captain Walter 
Jackman, stiff in high coat collars, his gift to 
his love. The rest consisted of the ordinary 
fittings of a bunk to sleep in, of a little wash- 
stand, and so forth. 

The commander, taking no notice of the 
steward, walked on deck. He was warmly 
clad in thick pilot. He made for the 
weather quarter-deck at once, and Mr. Hoey, 
seeing him coming, edged forward, and 
trudged in the waist with askant looks aft. 
It was something after two. The stream 
of tide was slacking. The houses of 
Gravesend were faintly discernible through 
a delicate drizzle of squall that was just 
then blowing over them. The cold and 
melancholy waste, where now stand the 
civilising signs of great docks and tall masts, 
made the scene that way soul depressing. 



1 66 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

Hard by the fort lay a little cutter of sixty 
or seventy tons. The pennant of the state 
flickered at her mast-head, and Commander 
Conway frequently directed his attention at 
the little craft as he stumped his few feet of 
deck. 

Nobody seemed to notice that Conway 
usurped the quarter-deck. In fact, it had 
been breezed abroad that he was the father- 
in-law of the master of the brig, and Jack 
was therefore satisfied. For an hour or so 
things remained as they were : Gravesend 
hung in squall ; Tilbury ran off its banks in 
gleams of mud ; the little cutter, with her 
gaff mainsail hoisted, strained at her cable ; 
and all between were great ships and little 
ships coming and going. Those who came 
were bound to London town, and those who 
went were being steered down the noble 
stream to every port in the world. 

An hour after Commander Conway had 
arrived on board the Gypsy, a wherry might 
have been seen putting off with feathering 
blade and smart whip of oar in the direction 
of the brig. 

* Here they come !' said the commander ; 



FATHER AND DAUGHTER 167 

and he knocked the ashes of his pipe over 
the rail. 

The boat rapidly glanced athwart the tide; 
the commander continued to strut to and fro. 
Hoey stood at the open gangway ready to 
receive the party. The boat hooked on, 
and swarmed through the rush of waters 
abreast to alongside. Captain and Mrs. 
Jackman stepped on board. The boat put 
off, and Hoey, turning to the commander, 
shouted — 

* Are you going ashore, sir ?' 

' Yes, and with my daughter,' said the 
commander, advancing towards Ada, who 
slightly shrank. 

' Pray, sir, what business have you in this 
vessel V demanded Captain Jackman with 
a very dark face. 

* My business is that lady whom you have 
feloniously removed from my roof, and now 
intend to carry into some sort of calling — 
smuggling, they call it — which may wholly 
ruin her.' 

* Nonsense !' exclaimed the young lady. 
* What I did was done entirely of my own 
free will, and I will do it again. He is my 



1 68 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

husband. You cannot separate us ; you 
cannot take me ashore because you wish 
to see us sundered.' 

She stood all her inches as she said these 
words, and spoke with her full strength of 
voice, and the sailors listened eagerly. 
Reckoned on the whole, she was the finest 
girl out of the port of London. 

' Weigh anchor !' shouted Captain Jack- 
man to Hoey, whose voice instantly went 
forward in the proper cow-like roar. 

It was an old-fashioned capstan, and it 
was worked with a song, and there were 
thirty throats. By degrees those looking 
over the rail saw the shore slipping by and 
inward-bound vessels coming along fast. 
Sail floated to the masthead, and blew 
balloon-like at the topgallant mast. Captain 
Jackman, after speaking a word with his 
wife, crossed the deck, where Conway 
stepped, the picture of violated law, indignant 
father, and horror of the whole proceedings. 

'Is it your intention, sir, to make this 
cruise with us ? If so, you are very 
welcome ; another nautical sabreur will 
please me vastly.' 



FATHER AND DAUGHTER 169 

' You are carrying me away at your own 
risk. You have stolen my daughter. I 
mean that you shall set me ashore, and I 
intend that my daughter shall accompany 
me home.' 

* To what home ?' cried Jackman. 

' To the home you stole her from !' 
shouted Conway. 

* She has a home of her own !' exclaimed 
Captain Jackman, drawing himself up with 
the gravity and dignity of an earl who talks 
of a belt and acres. ' As you are accom- 
panying us, you shall visit us in that home, 
and judge if your daughter is not perfectly 
comfortable.' 

With that he turned scornfully on his heel, 
and crossed the deck to speak to Mrs. Jack- 
man. 

Meanwhile, those who noticed anything 
had observed that the cutter lying in shore 
had loosed her mainsail and was getting her 
anchor. The evening gathered. The cutter 
was manifestly giving chase. The brig 
floated in lofty and silent contempt through 
the wide reaches. At seven o'clock the 
captain, followed by Ada, came out of the 



I70 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

cabin, and found the commander pacing the 
deck smoking a pipe. Captain Jackman, 
sHghtly raising his hat, went up to him, and 
said — 

' Since, sir, you are deUberately a guest of 
the brig's, you will allow me to force her 
hospitality upon you.' 

* Oh, presently ! A biscuit, that will do, 
thank you,' answered the commander, in his 
gruffest notes. ' I am an old sailor.' 

The captain, making no answer, crossed 
into the gloom, where, he perceived, stood 
the burly shape of Bill Hoey. 

' Summon all hands aft ; I have some- 
thing to say to them,' said he, and then 
rejoined his wife, who had remained silently 
watching her father pacing the deck, and 
trying in vain to imagine what he intended 
to do. 

There came aft, on the quarter-deck, a large 
number of men for so small a craft, despite 
that vessels went very liberally handled in 
those days. They filled the waist and ail 
about the mainmast ; and the commander, 
poising his pipe at his mouth, stood watching 
them in something of a posture of astonish- 



FATHER AND DAUGHTER 171 

ment. The dusk rendered faces and figures 
imperfect. It might be seen, however, that, 
in addition to her batteries of guns, and stern 
and bow chasers, she carried a crew as power- 
ful almost as a man-of-war of small rating 
would have entered. 

Captain Jackman, leaving his wife's side, 
stepped in front of the men, and said, in a 
high note of exultation — 

* Men, I have called you aft not to make 
you a speech, but to give you two or three 
facts, all of which I know will warm you to 
the very roots of your souls. I told you, for 
purposes of signing, that I had pretended we 
were bound to the Portugal coast, but that, 
in reality, we were bound away in search of 
a treasure, the particulars of which I gave 
you. That was a lie. We are no treasure- 
seekers, unless it lie in the holds of others. 
Men,' he cried, now beginning to gesticulate, 
and to warm up with his fancies, * this beauti- 
ful little brig has been fitted up as a pirate ' 
— the commander's pipe dropped with his 
hand — ' and a smuggler,' continued Jackman. 
* I have a date for a ship sailing from Lisbon. 
She will make your fortune ; and I swear 



172 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

you will go in no risk. That is what I have 
to say to you, men. Turn it over, and con- 
sider how magnificently it must work, seeing 
that in the south of Cornwall I already 
possess a splendid estate of smuggling steps 
and caves, and a little house in which my 
wife will live till we have completed our 
business, in which time Commander Conway 
may be glad to prove one of the party. He 
will be welcome.' 

A curious murmur rose from amongst the 
crew. No man could clearly catch the exact 
word or groan. 

The cutter astern was leaning over to 
the damp evening blast, which was now 
beginning to breeze up ; and her wake 
went astern of her as though it was the 
shimmer of her canvas. 

' Bear a hand in making sail, Mr. Hoey,' 
shouted Jackman ; and the great fellow 
answered with a roar, and the sailors sprang 
about. 

Swift as was the brig, however, the cutter 
proved a swifter keel, and by half-past ten 
o'clock that night she had ranged within 
easy hail of the Gypsy. 



FATHER AND DAUGHTER 173 

' Brig ahoy !' came a loud voice through 
the moist dissembling gloom. ' What ship 
are you, and where are you bound to ?' 

' We are the brig Gypsy ^ of and from 
London, and bound to the coast of Portugal,' 
answered Captain Jackman, who had sprung 
on the rail of his vessel when the other had 
hailed him. 

The commander rushed to the ship's side. 
' Nothing of the sort, sir. He's no honest 
ship ; he's going for a pirate and a smuggler. 
I am Commander ' 

He had shouted this in a voice like a 
speaking trumpet, when Captain Jackman 
rounded upon him, fiercely levelling a pistol 
at his head as he did so. 

' Down, you old dog !' he cried, stepping 
close to Conway. * Speak another word, 
and even your daughter's presence sha'n't 
save your life ! Go below, sir, so as to be 
out of danger ! Below, sir ! — below, sir, I 
say !' This he said, thrusting him towards 
the companion way. 

' ril square the yards yet with you, you 
scoundrel !' exclaimed the commander; and 
with a lingering look at the cutter, that was 



174 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

whitening the gloom with foam and canvas 
to windward, he vanished. 

Shortly after he had descended into the 
cabin, his daughter arrived. A bright lamp 
was swinging ; the remains of supper were 
upon the table. The girl looked fiercely 
under her black crooked brows at her father, 
and said, in a voice of hot contempt — 

' What right have you on board this 
ship ?' 

* The right of a father,' shouted the com- 
mander, * to fetch his daughter away from a 
pirate and a smuggler.' 

* You cannot separate us,' she cried. 

* You shall go ashore with me, or I shall 
stick to this ship,' he answered. 

She arched her mouth into a sneer, and 
said, ' I would advise you to leave us to our 
fate. You are never likely to hear of us ; and 
your reputation, of which you think highly, 

will be safe. If you interfere But, as 

it is, you have already given the news to the 
revenue cutter on our quarter, even whilst 
our own sailors may be considering whether 
they shall sail in the ship or not.' 

As she spoke these words, there was a 



FATHER AND DAUGHTER 175 

sharp hail abeam, quite audible in the cabin. 
It was not answered from the brig, which 
was now sheeting through the sea under tall 
leaning heights, beating the water into sifted 
snow with the drive of her round bows. 
The hail was repeated. A minute later the 
Gypsy was fired at; the glare of the gun 
illuminated the little cabin port-hole. The 
shot made the old hull thrill, and she broke 
off somewhat wildly to a sudden frightened 
whirl of smoke. The commander, fully ex- 
pecting that Captain Jackman would heave- 
to, rushed on deck just in time to behold 
some men abaft the wheel of the Gypsy 
bringing a nine-pounder to bear upon the 
little foaming hull. As he rushed to the 
side, the gun was fired. A sharp sound of 
crackling followed, and, more to the con- 
sternation than the gratification, perhaps, of 
the brig's company, they beheld the fabric 
of mainmast cut sheer in halves by the shot, 
and the whole litter and smother of gear and 
canvas encumbering the deck. She came to 
a stand. The Gypsy sped on. 

* Do you know what you have done, sir ?' 
cried the commander. 



176 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

' I have served him as I intend to serve 
others,' was the answer. ' You stand in my 
way. I am an honest man ; this is a clean 
ship. What law can justify that scoundrel 
in firing at me ?' 

* Your refusal to answer the hail of a king's 
ship. What are you bringing yourself into ?' 
And with something frantic in his manner, 
the old fellow went in long strides to the 
stern of the vessel. 

He stood watching the cutter sending up 
signals. They might have been colours of 
danger, hurried flashes of distress. No notice 
was taken on board the brig — in fact, the 
crew seemed all too much afraid of what 
had happened to be willing to stop the Gypsy, 
even had the order to back her topsail been 
given. A king's cutter hulled, dismasted, 
placed hors de combat by an English brig 
which had impudently refused to heave-to 
to legitimate demands ! Who was this 
Captain Jackman, anyhow \ It had got 
mysteriously whispered about, through God 
knows what source, that he was a little mad. 
It may have come from his last ship. It 
may have been detected in the docks, and 



FATHER AND DAUGHTER 177 

coolly noted and made nothing of by the 
reckless seamen who had agreed to sail with 
him for fine pay and a good share of the 
treasure. 

The wide stretch of river looked melan- 
choly with the black of the night and the 
dimness of the stars, and the dull gleam of 
the heads of the running sea. The com- 
mander, with folded arms, stood gazing in 
the direction where the cutter was sunk in 
the gloom. His mind was distracted. He 
had counted upon the civility and respect of 
Captain Jackman ; on the contrary, his life 
had been threatened, and he was now being 
carried away to sea in spite of his protests. 
He could endure his reverie no longer, and 
after looking about him in search of Captain 
Jackman, and beholding no one aft but the 
huge figure of Bill Hoey, who was keeping 
the watch, he went into the cabin. 

There he found the captain and Ada, late 
as it was, in earnest conversation. They 
broke ofi^ when he entered, and the captain 
stood up ; but the girl stared at her father 
with angry looks of impatience. 

* We are pleased that you have come 

12 



178 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

below, sir,' said the captain respectfully, 
indicating a chair, and brandy and other 
materials, in as many flourishes of his hand. 
' We should like a good understanding to 
exist between us.' 

' I am very wishful that that should be,' 
said the commander, who understood that 
this lover of good understandings carried 
loaded pistols in his pockets, and that he had 
one in his breast then. 

' You are on board my brig,' said Captain 
Jackman, * without invitation. Do not you 
think you are guilty of a gross act of rude- 
ness r 

The commander pointed, mute with 
passion, to his daughter. 

' You cannot divorce us by being here,' 
continued Captain Jackman, with a slow 
white smile and a sarcastic face, and eyes full 
of dangerous light. ' She is my wife, sir, 
above and beyond your control absolutely.' 

' You will set me ashore with her, never- 
theless,' exclaimed Commander Conway. 

' Yes, you shall be set ashore certainly, 
and my wife and I will accompany you. 
Does that satisfy you, sir?' 



FATHER AND DAUGHTER 179 

* Where is the place ?' said the com- 
mander, with an angry snuffle of suspicion. 

* In Cornwall.' 

' It is your home, perhaps.' 

* You shall see it,' exclaimed Ada. * And 
when you have enjoyed its beauties you will 
return to the little square house.' 

The commander looked from one to the 
other. He was very much of an old fool, 
but not so foolish as to miss this, that this 
couple were not to be dealt with by him, 
that he had started on a fool's chase, in which 
if he was not very careful with the fellow 
opposite, he might lose his life. He looked 
up at the hour that ticked in a clock under 
the little hatch. It was twelve. He said — 

* I will take my rest here, on this locker.' 
The captain bowed to him. * You have 

had no refreshment. May I,' said he, ' offer 
you something to eat?' 

' I will thank you for a biscuit and a 
drop of that brandy.' He spoke with reluc- 
tance, the ill-breeding of which caused his 
daughter to fix one of her handsomest 
though gloomiest stares upon him. 

When the sun rose the brig was standing 

12 — 2 



[8o A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

down Channel. Sail was heaped on her. 
She often foamed to her catheads. She was 
making a triumphant course, swift and fine. 
The sea about her lay in frosted silver, and 
the ships around her leaned in shafts of light. 
The commander early made his appearance. 
Observing his daughter Ada to be standing 
alone at the taffrail, he accosted her. 

' Do not you think yourself a very un- 
natural child ?' 

* I am free. Leave me, father, or forbear 
at all events from criticising my behaviour,' 
answered the girl, flashing her hottest looks 
upon him. 

* You know that Captain Jackman de- 
liberately stole fifteen hundred pounds of 
the moneys of his owners for the purpose 
of fitting out his brig for a piratical enter- 
prise V 

* You must prove all that,' she cried. 

' He has fired upon a revenue cutter, and 
stands to be transported for life.' 

* And what then ?' she cried, with a bold 
laugh of contempt. * Wherever he goes he'll 
find me near.' 

* But you seem to forget that Captain 



FATHER AND DAUGHTER i8i 

Jackman, by confessing that he is going as a 
pirate, stands to be hanged, and you may see 
his corpse on the black mud of the Thames, 
revolving at the finger of a gibbet in irons, a 
brutally degraded w^retch. My God, what 
have you done ?' A great sob rent the old 
man's breast. 

* Father,' answered the girl, ' I am sorry 
to have caused you grief, but my die is cast, 
and I beg of you to say no more against my 
action, or against my husband.' 

She left him and went to the rail, and 
watched, with a hot angry face, the white 
foam streaming by. She was absolutely 
reckless and defiant. She had got her man, 
and meant to stick to him at all hazards. 
The commander walked over to her suddenly, 
and putting his arm on her shoulder, ex- 
claimed — 

' Do you know that Captain Jackman is 
insane ?' 

* You will have to prove all your state- 
ments,' she cried, without turning her head. 

* He is a madman,' cried old Conway. ' I 
saw it in him when we met. His owner 
told me that he was a madman. Certain 



1 82 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

statements had been made about him by 
the crew of his last ship, and in any case 
he would not have sailed under their flag 
again.' 

' Mad or not mad, I love him,' said the 
girl, again crossing the deck to avoid her 
father. 

Meanwhile the crew remained quiet and 
obedient. They could not possibly mistake 
the ship's errand and the hazard they ran. 
Yet they acted as though they had made up 
their minds to the consequences. Their 
behaviour of obedience greatly puzzled old 
Conway, who tried to get at one and another 
of them : but somehow they did not choose 
to speak. Bill Hoey, in particular, was 
peculiarly reticent, considering that he was 
plied by a man who had been a Naval Com- 
mander, and who carried the authority of the 
flag. He would tell nothing, he knew 
nothing, he supposed they were going 
a-pirating, since the captain said so ; but 
who was to tell but that the captain, whose 
royal yard did not seemed very well trimmed 
by the lifts, might change his mind, go 
a-slaving instead, go a-hunting for whales — 



FATHER AND DAUGHTER 183 

in short, the gentleman well knew there 
was a great deal of business to be done on 
the seas. 

As the brig passed down the coast the 
commander would from time to time take 
an eagle view of the starboard horizon, 
hoping that the cutter had been fallen in 
with, her case reported, a messenger de- 
spatched by land to a port where they had 
a frigate which would intercept the Gypsy. 
But nothing in the shape of a man-of-war 
showed the whole way down. They were 
favoured by fine weather, and in places the 
sea was white with shafts of canvas. The 
brig took care to speak nothing. She sailed 
through the deep without sign, and her 
secret, whose confession would have brought 
some of the ships she sighted in fiery pursuit 
of her, remained her own. 

How did the commander fare ? His 
daughter was not a lovable creature, though 
a very fine woman. She was not one to 
sit at table whilst her father walked the 
deck hungry, nor was the commander one 
to walk hungry. He said to Captain Jack- 
man — 



1 84 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

' I had counted upon you putting me 
ashore with my daughter at my home down 
the coast, otherwise I should not have 
intruded upon you ; but since I am here, 
I must be fed or die. Therefore I will 
thank you to allow me to join you at your 
meals.' 

* There has been no intrusion, sir,' said the 
captain, in his elegant style. * We are glad 
to have you with us. We hope you will 
think better of your resolution, and remain 
as one who can command us in an expedi- 
tion which must result in filling our vaults 
with wealth without risk.' The commander 
made an extraordinary face. ' At all events 
I have to go ashore,' exclaimed the captain, 
* at Bugsby's Hole with my wife, and we 
will take you with us, and perhaps, sir, a 
little chat in our quiet home may result in 
my scheme gaining your favour.' 

The subject then ended, and the com- 
mander henceforth fed at the table with his 
daughter and son-in-law. It was an igno- 
minious position, and the food nearly choked 
the retired officer. But though he had been 
a gallant sailor, he had the usual weaknesses 



FATHER AND DAUGHTER 185 

of the human animal, and amongst these 
were hunger and thirst. 

A day and a night of the bitter weather of 
the Chops drove the brig to the south'ard 
under reefed canvas, and some of the sailors 
wondered if she was going to the Portugal 
coast, where Jackman had promised them a 
galleon full of precious commodity. She 
cleverly regained her place in a couple of 
days, and on a bright, quiet Sunday morning 
lay within sight of the part of the Cornwall 
cliffs which may be here called Bugsby's 
Hole. The air shone with the white light 
of winter ; the beat of the surf was sullen. 
This line of coast is low and livid, and its 
sky-line ran sharp, with not a house or tree 
to break its dreary continuity. All had been 
prearranged, and when the brig's maintop- 
sail had been brought to the mast on the 
ship's arrival at about three-quarters of a mile 
distant from the land, a large boat was 
lowered, and a quantity of luggage was put 
into it. Then Ada entered, next followed 
the commander, finally the captain, after an 
earnest conference with Bill Hoey, his chief 
mate, the man who was to be left in charge. 



1 86 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

The boat passed quickly over the long heave 
of sea which here runs with the weight of 
the Atlantic, and, watching their opportunity, 
the men contrived to handsomely beach her 
within a short walk of Bugsby's Hole. The 
seamen carried the baggage into the vault, 
and were followed by the captain, his wife, 
and the commander. The vault was a fine 
cutting of a gradual slope, charged on either 
hand with marvellously contrived hiding- 
places. They gained the entrance by land, 
and Captain Jackman was loud in his praise 
of the beautiful tunnel he had passed through, 
and which was his property. 

' Carry the luggage to that little house 
yonder,' said Ada. ' That is my home, 
father. We will convert it into a castle.' 

The house that was to be transformed 
ultimately into a castle, without regard to 
the laws of the land, and the opinions of 
respectable seamen sailing the high seas, was 
an edifice worthy to berth a ploughman and 
his family, and to make them a good home. 
A middle-aged servant had been living in the 
house for some days, and all was in prepara- 
tion. Fires burnt in the grates, a leg of 



FATHER AND DAUGHTER 187 

mutton smoked in the kitchen, and a canary 
in the living-room, which was immediately 
entered by the house door, sang a loud song 
of welcome. 

' This, sir, will be our residence,' said 
Captain Jackman to the commander, who 
was staring agape and aghast around him, 

* until we have stored some of the most secret 
of the hiding-places we have just passed with 
easily negotiable articles. I have taken you 
into my confidence, for you will not betray 
me. I do not fear death.' He smiled 
strangely as he looked at the commander. 

* I must be a rich man, and Ada, my wife, 
and my love,' he exclaimed, turning a look 
of touching tenderness upon the girl, * will 
share in my fortune, and possess it when I 
die. You can, if you choose, go away, and 
start the hounds of your own service after 
us. You will not do this. You will not, 
with your own hand, bring your son-in-law 
to the gallows.' The commander stared at 
him passionately, but in silence. He had 
long ago exhausted the language of horror. 
He had no further protests to offer against 
his son-in-law's daring scheme. 



1 88 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

So nothing more was said in this way ; 
and in the afternoon, at about two o'clock, 
when the leg of mutton had been eaten, 
Captain Jackman took a touching farewell 
of his wife. Again and again he pressed 
her to his heart. He gravely saluted the 
commander, not seeming then to have 
words for him. Where was he going ? This 
madman — though, to be sure, it was still 
the age of the pirate, the smuggler, and the 
slaver — was bound away down the Portugal 
coast to intercept and plunder a large, rich 
ship which was sailing to the Indies on a 
date of which he had received private notice. 
The boat that had brought the party ashore 
lay in wait. He entered it, and was rowed 
aboard the brig, which lay at about a mile 
distant. Ada and the commander stood 
watching the vessel. The girl was too 
proud to weep before her father, and gazed 
haughtily at the picture on the sea. But 
what was happening there ? 

' Have you a glass V almost shrieked the 
commander. ' By Heaven, Ada, I believe 
the men have seized the ship !' 

Whilst he said it, the vessel was a scene 



FATHER AND DAUGHTER 189 

of commotion and disorder. A boat had 
been lowered, and five men had pulled 
hastily under the stern. The topsail had 
been swung, then hauled afresh, and the 
foretopsail backed, and within an hour of 
Captain Jackman having gone on board his 
ship to seize the Portuguese galleon, a boat 
of the brig, with Bill Hoey steering her, 
was swept to Bugsby's Hole. 

Commander Conway and his daughter 
ran down the tunnel to hear what had 
happened. The huge form of Hoey stood 
in the orifice, and beyond lay the boat in 
the clear gleams and lights of the high 
Atlantic afternoon, with men tending her, 
and some gathering near to Hoey to listen 
to what was to follow. 

* I think you are a retired commander in 
the Navy,' said Hoey, respectfully saluting 
the commander. 

* That's so. What's gone wrong with 
you ?' answered the commander, speaking 
with great agitation. 

' We want you to take charge of the brig 
to a naval port, and tell our story for us,' 
said Hoey. ' We was tricked into this job. 



190 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

We never signed for piracy, and the likes 
of that. We was to seek for a treasure that 
lay hid in an island. We laid hold of him 
when he came aboard, and told him plainly 
that we had mutinied, and meant to carry 
the ship and himself to where we could 
report the case to an admiral. He knew 
we were no pirates. He turned black with 
passion. " Who's going to be answerable," 
says I, " for wrecking that there revenue 
cutter .?" He slapped his hand to his 
pocket, and I sprang upon him, and some 
of us ran him below, and locked him up in 
his own cabin. It has a big stern-window, 
which we had overlooked, and, being 
naturally mad, as all hands for some time 
had been aware, he goes and proves it by 
dropping overboard, and drowning himself, 
and I came off at once, sir, to give you the 
news, and ask for instructions.' 

A long, wild shriek, incommunicable in 
words, rang through the tunnel, but Ada 
stood upright nevertheless. 

' Are you sure he is drowned ?' asked the 
commander. 

' Oh yes, sir,' answered Hoey. * A good 



FATHER AND DAUGHTER 191 

search was made, and nothing of him was 
seen.' 

' Oh, Waher !' moaned the girl ; then, 
screaming at Hoey, ' Ruffians ! cowards ! 
murderers !' she swung on her heels, and 
rushed wildly up the tunnel. 

' Ada,' shouted the commander after her, 
* you will come along with us ?' 

' I will drown myself too, if you carry me 
on board,' she howled, just glancing round 
to say so ; and she then went up the tunnel, 
and out of sight of them. 

The commander knew his daughter ; he 
was perfectly well aware that no entreaty 
was to move her. He lingered, considered, 
thought to himself, * She has her home ; 
when all this passion and grief have passed 
I will come down and take her away.' He 
entered the boat, but, in justice it must be 
said, with a most reluctant heart, and eyes 
which clung to the land. 

And was our friend successful in courting 
his daughter out of the tremendous solitude 
of Bugsby's Hole .? He knew that he stood 
no chance when the messenger, whom he 
had despatched to inquire after her, himself 



192 A TALE OF TWO TUNNELS 

not choosing to be visible, returned with 
the information that it was beUeved by the 
simple adjacent villagers that she had lost 
her true bearings, and was, in fact, out of 
her course. This could be asserted, that 
every night, blow high or blow low, the 
poor, unhappy woman, whom her father 
never could persuade to abandon her 
wretched home, placed a lamp in a seaward- 
facing window. 



THE END. 



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